Long March 3B failed, Chinasat-9A remains on lower orbit

The article from SpaceFlights.NEWS

Long March 3b suffered for some kind of problems during last launch.

CNSA admitted on Monday that their latest satellite launched on the top of the Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on June 18, 2017, remains on lower orbit that it was previously planned. It was officially confirmed that satellite was delivered to space and it is working, but CNSA did not provide any details regarding orbital position, reasons of failed launch or information about condition of the satellite.

It is worth to remind that in case when problems appear during start of the rocket they are quite easy to spot; as they appear during last phase, it is pretty hard as it is necessary to rely only on telemetry data. Problems with Long March 3B were not reported directly after launch, so it is more possible that anomaly appeared when third cryogenic stage should perform its two burns. CNSA is forced to analyze telemetry data second after second since first burn which should deliver satellite to 190 km parking orbit until second burn, which should push spacecraft into GTO orbit with apogee at 35000 km and perigee at 190 km – 200 km with 25-27 degree inclination. Official announcement given yesterday omit also present orbit parameters of Chinasat-9A. According to Joint Space Operations Center satellite is at 193 km x 16,357 Kilometers, 25.68° orbit which is clearly over a half lower that it should be. Satellite probably could be ordered to use own propulsion to reach designated GTO orbit and later GEO orbital slot, but even if amount of fuel will be sufficient for such journey, it is not possible to keep satellite on correct orbit for following years, as most of the propellant would be used for orbit rising. It is possible that CNSA will decide to try to rise orbit in following months, but it is also highly possible, that satellite will be simply decommissioned. CNSA still has not announced officially any details regarding future plans for Chinasat-9A and claims, that is analyzing situation and will give additional statement in the nearest future.

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