SpaceX Falcon 9 Orbits Turksat 5B Satellite for Second Launch in One Day

Falcon 9 lifts off with Turksat 5B on Dec. 18, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. — On Saturday, December 18 at 10:58 p.m. EST, Falcon 9 launched the Turksat 5B mission to geostationary transfer orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

This was the third launch and landing of this booster, which previously supported launch of CRS-22 and Crew-3.

It was the second SpaceX launch on Saturday. At 7:41 a.m. EST, a Falcon 9 launched 52 Starlink broadband satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

It was the 11th launch and landing of a Falcon 9 first-stage booster, a new record for the company. The booster has launched Dragon’s first crew demonstration mission, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM-7, and now 8 Starlink missions.

SpaceX is scheduled to conduct its 31st and final launch of the year on Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 5:06 a.m. EST. A Falcon 9 will launch a Dragon 2 cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It will be the 24th mission under SpaceX’s Commercial Resupply Services contract and the Dragon capsule’s fourth flight to the station.

The forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of favorable weather for the launch.

Sirius XM New Satellite Suffers Payload Failures in Orbit

Rendering of the SXM-7 satellite (Credit: Maxar Technologies)

Sirius XM’s newest satellite has suffered the failure of certain “payload units” following its launch last month, the satellite radio company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

The Maxar-built SXM-7 satellite was launched on Dec. 13 by a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster. The spacecraft began in-orbit testing on Jan. 4.

“During in-orbit testing of SXM-7, events occurred which have caused failures of certain SXM-7 payload units. An evaluation of SXM-7 is underway. The full extent of the damage to SXM-7 is not yet known,” Sirius XM said.

“We do not expect our satellite radio service to be impacted by these adverse SXM-7 events. Our XM-3 and XM-4 satellites continue to operate and are expected to support our satellite radio service for several years. In addition, our XM-5 satellite remains available as an in-orbit spare. Construction of our SXM-8 satellite is underway and that satellite is expected to be launched into a geostationary orbit later this year,” the company added.

Sirius XM said it had purchased insurance policies worth $225 million covering the satellite through launch the first year of in-orbit operations. The company has notified underwriters of potential claims relating to SXM-7.

SiriusXM’s New SXM-7 Satellite, Built by Maxar and Launched Aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, Performing Properly After Launch

Rendering of the SXM-7 satellite (Credit: Maxar Technologies)

SiriusXM’s new 1300-class satellite will provide continuous and expanded delivery of its audio entertainment and information services across North America

NEW YORK AND HAWTHORNE, CA, AND WESTMINSTER, COLO., December 13, 2020 (Maxar/Sirius XM PR) – Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, SiriusXM, the leading audio entertainment company in the United States, and SpaceX, today announced that the SXM-7 satellite was successfully launched and is performing properly.

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Launch Updates: SpaceX, Virgin Galactic & Rocket Lab Shift Dates

SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity makes first glide flight at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SpaceX scrubbed the launch of the SXM-7 for SiriusXM satellite radio on Friday morning. The countdown for the Falcon 9 rocket was held at T-30 seconds.

“Standing down from today’s launch attempt to perform additional ground system checkouts; teams are working toward no earlier than Sunday, December 13 for next launch attempt of SXM-7,” SpaceX tweeted.

The window for Virgin Galactic’s first suborbital flight of SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico opened on Friday. However, the company did not conduct a flight with scientific experiments.

“Good morning from NM. Vehicles and flight crew are ready. Flight window is now open. We will fly no earlier than Saturday. We have range clearance through the weekend and can extend into next week if necessary. Evaluating high-level winds and turbulence. Stay tuned for updates,” Virgin Galactic tweeted.

Rocket Lab has delayed its launch of the StriX-α synthetic aperture radar satellite from New Zealand by a day to Tuesday, Dec. 15 for a rather unusual reason.

“To avoid a solar eclipse that could affect Synspective’s mission, we’re now targeting Dec 15 for launch,” the company tweeted. “When customers request a new T-0, we’re happy to oblige. That’s the beauty of dedicated launch on Electron, our customers get to choose (and change!) their launch time.”

The target lift-off time for the The Owl’s Night Begins mission on Dec. 15 is:

UTC: 09:00-10:59
NZT: 22:00-23:59
JST: 18:00-19:59
PST: 01:00-02:59
EST: 04:00-05:59.