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Commercial satellite launched only weeks ago fails

Capitalism in space: A new geosynchronous satellite intended to augment the SiriusXM radio service has failed only six weeks after launch on a Falcon 9 rocket.

Built by Maxar in Palo Alto, California, the SXM 7 satellite successfully launched Dec. 13 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station into an elliptical geostationary transfer orbit, then used its on-board engine to reach an orbit more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator, where

SiriusXM announced the “failure of certain SXM 7 payload units” in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. “An evaluation of SXM 7 is underway,” the company said. “The full extent of the damage to SXM 7 is not yet known.”

Though neither SiriusXM nor Maxar have released any details on the failure, they have also said the failure is unrelated to the launch. Their use of the word “damage” however is intriguing, as it suggests a kind of catastrophic failure, such as an impact from a piece of space junk.

We don’t know yet however and can only wait for more information. Losing a satellite like this only weeks after launch however is a big deal, as these satellites are now built to last one to two decades, at a minimum. Insurance will pay for a replacement, but it could take at least one to two years to launch it.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

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