Today, Sunday, 13 December, SpaceX will launch a Sirius XM satellite into orbit using one of its Falcon 9 rockets. The launch was originally planned for Friday, December 11, but it had to be delayed due to what SpaceX described as “additional ground system checkouts.”
With the checkouts complete, the SpaceX team is now preparing for the mission, dubbed SXM-7, to go ahead today. It aims to replace an outdated Sirius XM satellite which provides satellite radio programming for North America, and we have all the details on how you can watch this launch live.
The launch will be livestreamed by SpaceX, which you can watch either on the company’s YouTube page or using the embedded video above. The launch is scheduled for 8:22 a.m. PT on Sunday, December 13, with coverage set to begin just after 8 a.m. PT.
The livestream will show the final preparations for launch, the liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket, the ascent and max q phase, the separation of the first stage, and the attempt to catch the first stage on the droneship “Just Read the Instructions” which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The particular Falcon 9 booster being used in today’s mission has been used before in a famous mission — it was used in the historic Demo-1 mission which tested out the Crew Dragon capsule on its first crewed test flight to the International Space Station. Since then, it has also been used in the RADARSAT Constellation Mission and four Starlink launches this year. One half of the payload fairing has also been used before, in the ANASIS-II mission in July this year.
This follows a busy week for SpaceX, when the company tested its next-generation rocket, the Starship, in a high-altitude test. The Starship SN8 prototype was launched and reached an altitude of around 40,000 feet before performing its “landing flip” maneuver in which its attitude was adjusted to allow it to land vertically once more.
But as the prototype fired its engines to slow itself to land, it descended too fast and exploded in a dramatic fireball, destroying the prototype entirely.
All the same, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk seemed delighted with how the test went, saying that the team gathered the data they needed.