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SpaceX plans to launch another SiriusXM satellite Sunday

The SiriusXM SXM-8 satellite is prepared for spaceflight at Maxar Technologies laboratory in California, leading up to a launch Sunday from Florida. Photo courtesy of Maxar Technologies
The SiriusXM SXM-8 satellite is prepared for spaceflight at Maxar Technologies laboratory in California, leading up to a launch Sunday from Florida. Photo courtesy of Maxar Technologies

ORLANDO, Fla., June 4 (UPI) -- Elon Musk's SpaceX plans to launch a communications satellite for SiriusXM on Sunday from Florida in what will be the first such mission since one of the broadcast company's spacecraft failed after launch in December.

The satellite, known as SXM-8, is prepared for liftoff aboard a Falcon 9 rocket during a nearly two-hour window starting at 12:25 a.m. EDT from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

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Weather risks at that time include showers and cumulus clouds, according to a forecast from the Space Force, which determined a 40% chance of weather-related postponement. SpaceX may attempt a launch around the same time Monday if weather causes a delay.

The satellite is intended to aid the delivery of Sirius XM's entertainment and data services to 34 million subscribers, according to the company.

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The satellite includes a large antenna and solar arrays that span 100 feet when unfurled, weighing in total more than 15,400 pounds. Maxar Technologies built and tested it at the company's laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif.

The reflector allows SiriusXM programming to reach mobile radios, such as those in moving vehicles, the company said in a news release.

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A malfunction of the company's previous satellite, SXM-7, led to the total loss of the spacecraft after SpaceX successfully launched it. SiriusXM reported the malfunction in January, but said the loss wouldn't affect its service because it has multiple satellites.

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The company did not respond on Friday to requests for comment on the new launch.

In April, SiriusXM reported to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission that SXM-7 is not recoverable and it added a loss of $220 million to its books.

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The lost spacecraft was insured for $225 million, the company said.

"We ... expect to file an insurance claim in the second quarter of 2021. At this time, we are unable to reliably estimate the amount of insurance recoveries," according to the SEC filing.

Sirius XM service comes installed in new vehicles from every major automaker in the United States and is available in nearly half of the preowned vehicles for sale in the country, according to the company.

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