Maxar Technologies and SiriusXM disclose SXM-77 concerns

Maxar Technologies and SiriusXM reported issues with SXM-7, which is a SiriusXM communications satellite, deployed in December, in January 27 disclosures with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. “Events that have caused errors of specific SXM-7 payload modules that have arisen during SXM-7 in-orbit testing,” SiriusXM stated in a January 27 paper. “An SXM-7 review is ongoing. It is not yet established the full magnitude of the harm to SXM-7. Maxar designed the approximately 7,000-kilogram communications satellite to provide mobile radio transmission for 15 years or even more. SXM-7 was launched into geostationary orbit by SpaceX on December 13 on the Falcon 9 rocket.

“The concern of SXM-7 will have no detrimental impact on the function of our satellite radio service or the established satellite operating fleet,” a spokesperson for SiriusXM stated by email. SXM-7 aimed to complement the current SiriusXM satellite fleet. Our XM-3 as well as XM-4 satellites are stable and fully functional and are anticipated to provide many years of support for the satellite radio service. The XM-5 satellite, an in-orbit replacement planned to complement the current fleet, is also operated by SiriusXM. Another SiriusXM spacecraft, SXM-8, is currently being built by Maxar, which is scheduled for deployment in 2021.

The issue with SXM-7 is highly probable to impact the space insurance market significantly, the satellite insurer stated. The satellite got insured, SiriusXM noted in its SEC filing, for about $225 million. As per the insurer, the threat was distributed across roughly 20 insurers. In its SEC disclosure, SiriusXM claimed that it “informed the underwriters of such policies of a possible claim regarding SXM-7.” In its filing, Maxar added, “We are presently aiding Sirius XM in debugging and identifying the situation to determine the magnitude of the harm to satellite SXM-7 and also to concentrate on safely finishing the satellite commissioning and enhancing its performance. Maxar’s deal with Sirius XM passed the risk of damage to the satellite owner upon the launch, which is usually in the space sector.

Bridget Neville, who works at SiriusXM as Senior Vice-president in charge of Satellite and Repeater Systems Engineering and Operations, stated, “SXM-7 plays a significant role in strengthening the consistency and effective delivery of the SiriusXM’s audio entertainment, weather, data as well as information services for coming years.” “With the inclusion of SXM-7, our satellite convey-service coverage area in the North America is more robust and more complicated than it has ever been. We commend our engineering unit, SpaceX and Maxar, on an effective launch. 

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