SSL (Space Systems Loral) has been awarded a contract to build two communications satellites by the Sirius XM, a satellite radio provider. The satellites, SXM-7 and SXM-8 will replace the XM-3 and XM-4 satellite in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Both of these satellites currently provide audio entertainment and data services to more than 30.6 million subscribers across North America.
Both SXM-7 and SXM-8 will use a version of the SSL-1300 bus design, and operate in the S-band spectrum. Each satellite will generate more than 20 kW of power and will have a large unfurlable antenna reflector, which enables broadcast to radios without the need for large dish-type antennas on the ground. The satellites will be designed to provide service for 15 years or longer.
SSL has previously built a total of seven satellites for SiriusXM, including its first generation Sirius satellites, which were launched in 2000. Of the seven satellites built, one was a ground spare that was never needed due to the reliability of the original constellation. It was donated to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in 2012.