Chinasat-9A communications satellite reaches correct orbit

Chinese communications satellite reached finally its designated orbit after its rocket, Long March 3B failed to deploy it on the correct altitude on June, 18, 2017.

Chinasat-9A was launched on the top of the Long March 3B from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on June 18, 2017. Rocket due the not specified problems, probably with cryogenic second stage, deployed satellite below the correct orbit. Instead 35000 km and perigee at 190 km - 200 km with 25-27 degree inclination, satellite reached only 193 km x 16357 km, 25.68° orbit. Still, after deployment it was in good condition and CNSA decided to put him around 36000 km above its current position using only its own propulsion.

Satellite was ordered to fire its engine ten times to raise the orbit for 35800 km. Satellite based on DHF-4 satellite bus by China Academy of Space Technology used its propellant to reach correct orbit. Finally after over two weeks of space journey satellite managed to position itself at  101.4 degrees east longitude. CNSA avoided to announce how much propellant was used for orbit raising, so it is not possible to evaluate how much fuel satellite will have for keeping orbit. Chinasat-9A should spend on orbit at least 15 years, but remaining fuel surely will limit mission duration. Satellite is in good condition and after in orbit tests it will enter service in following weeks.

 

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