SiriusXM may have lost its newest satellite in space

(Image courtesy Maxar Technologies/SiriusXM Pandora)

A new communications satellite launched by SpaceX for use by SiriusXM Pandora has suffered an undisclosed failure and may not be fully recoverable.

The satellite radio and datacast company disclosed the failure in a filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

The satellite, SXM-7, was launched by SpaceX in mid-December and was intended to replace XM-3, which was launched by XM Satellite Radio in 2005. XM and Sirius Satellite Radio merged a few years later.

SXM-7 was built by Maxar Technologies with an anticipated lifespan of 15 years or more. But an unspecified set of failures during SiriusXM’s in-orbital testing of SXM-7 has called into question whether the radio company will be able to use it at all.

“During in-orbit testing of SXM-7, events occurred which have caused the failure of certain SXM-7 payload units,” a SiriusXM spokesperson said in the SEC filing on Wednesday. “An evaluation of SXM-7 is underway. The full extent of the damage to SXM-7 is not yet known.”

SiriusXM said the in-orbital failure was not connected to SpaceX’s launch of the satellite. The satellite had not yet stated broadcasting radio and datacast signals, the company said.

The satellite is insured for $225 million through aggregate policies, SiriusXM said. The insurance covered its launch and first year in space.

“We have notified the underwriters of these policies of a potential claim with respect to SXM-7,” a company official said.

Another Maxar-built satellite, SXM-8, is slated to launch in March.