Healthy Chinese Communications Satellite Placed in Wrong Orbit

A Long March 3B rocket placed a Chinese communications satellite into an extremely lopsided orbit on Monday following what official state media say was an anomaly with the booster’s third stage.

Space-Track.org reports the Zhongxing-9A (Chinasat-9A) spacecraft is in an orbit measuring 193 x 16,357 km. It is not clear whether the geosynchronous satellite can be salvaged.

Chinese media report the spacecraft is healthy with solar panels and antennas deployed.

The satellite was launched aboard a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 00:12 local time.

Zhongxing-9A is designed to provide direct-to-home television broadcast services to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

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  • Sam Moore

    It’s also at 28 degrees inclination; seems a good candidate for an asiasat-style lunar flight recovery. They could recover conventionally, but they’d be down about ten years worth of extra fuel.

  • JamesG

    Didn’t restart for its circularization burn? bummer.

  • Sam Moore

    CZ-3B can’t do GSO circularisation without an extra kick stage. The planned orbit for this launch wasn’t announced, but Chinasat 9 went to 245 x 49592 km super-sync transfer orbit.