SpaceX calls off Sirius XM satellite launch at last minute

SpaceX called off the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a new Sirius XM satellite on Friday (Dec. 11), halting the flight at the last minute for extra system checks. 

The Falcon 9 rocket was 30 seconds away from lifting off at 12:55 p.m. EST (1755 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida when SpaceX stopped the launch. The rocket is carrying the SXM-7 satellite for Sirius XM.

"Standing down from today's launch attempt to perform additional ground system checkouts; teams are working toward no earlier than Sunday, December 13 for next launch attempt of SXM-7," SpaceX wrote in an update on Twitter. A Sunday launch attempt would lift off at 7:13 a.m. EST (1213 GMT). 

You'll be able to watch that launch action live here and on the homepage, courtesy of SpaceX. You can also watch directly from SpaceX here about 15 minutes before liftoff.  

Related: See the evolution of SpaceX's rockets in pictures 

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Sirius XM satellite SXM-7 is seen atop Space Launch Complex 40 of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida after a launch delay on Dec. 11, 2020. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is launching the SXM-7 satellite for satellite radio provider Sirius XM on this mission. SXM-7 is a 15,432-lb. (7,000 kilograms) radio communications satellite designed to serve Sirius subscribers across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

The Falcon 9 rocket for this mission is a veteran SpaceX booster making its 7th launch into space. It previously launched an uncrewed Crew Dragon test flight for NASA in 2019, the Radarsat constellation for Canada later that year, and then four  Starlink satellite internet missions in 2020. 

The SMX-7 mission will mark the second time SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 for the seventh time.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.