Monday, June 19, 2017

China's Zhongxing-9A Satellite Fails to Enter Preset Orbit

Long March 3B launch with the Zhongxing-9A satellite – Photo via Chinaspaceflight.com

Communications satellite Zhongxing-9A, which was launched aboard the Long March-3B carrier rocket from southwest China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 12:11 a.m. local time on Monday, has failed to enter the preset orbit.

Abnormal performance was identified during the third phase of the rocket launch, said the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) Monday.

The exact reason for the failure is under investigation and related parties are taking measures to address the problem and send the satellite into the correct orbit.

The solar panels and communication antennae, however, have been deployed and the satellite system is operating under normal conditions, according to the CASC.

The Zhongxing-9A satellite is a Ku band telecommunications satellite based on the advanced DFH-4 satellite bus and developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a subsidiary of CASC. 

The satellite may be able to reach its intended geostationary orbit at 92 degrees East through orbit-raising maneuvers, though this would impact on its designed operational lifetime of 15 years.

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