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SiriusXM’s latest satellite a “total loss” in space

(Image courtesy Maxar Technologies/SiriusXM Pandora)

SiriusXM’s newest satellite has been declared a total loss after it suffered from several failures during a series of in-orbit tests earlier this year.

The satellite, SXM-7, was launched by SpaceX in mid-December and was constructed by Maxar Technologies, a Colorado-based supplier of space technology and the manufacturer behind most of SiriusXM’s satellites currently in orbit.

Though the launch went smoothly, some kind of failure was detected when SiriusXM performed a series of in-orbit tests ahead of the satellite’s anticipated start date. Those failures have not yet been disclosed by SiriusXM, though the company said in January it was reviewing whether the satellite could be spared.

Earlier this month, SiriusXM and Maxar acknowledged the satellite was a total loss. The incident is now at the center of a $225 million insurance claim.

SXM-7 was built to serve for at least 15 years and was expected to provide datacasting for various SiriusXM operations, including its flagship consumer radio service. It was slated to replace XM-3, a satellite launched by XM Satellite Radio in 2005. XM and Sirius Satellite Radio merged a few years later.

Maxar is currently building SiriusXM’s next satellite, SXM-8, which is slated to launch in the near future.