Chinese satellite reaches orbit

Beijing, July 6 (IANS) Chinese communications satellite Zhongxing-9A entered its preset orbit two weeks after it was launched, authorities said on Thursday.

According to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the Long March-3B rocket, launched on June 19, encountered a problem in its third phase and could not be placed in orbit on time, reports Efe news.

The satellite had to carry out at least 10 adjustments with its onboard thrusters before it could be placed in its correct orbit at 101.4 degrees east longitude over the equator, the CASC said.

The satellite systems are now functioning normally and the transponders have begun to work, it added.

Zhongzing-9A is China’s first homegrown satellite, capable of live broadcasting for radio and television.

The Chinese space programme suffered another setback on Sunday when the launch of another communications satellite, Long March-5 Y2, failed an hour into take-off due to an unspecified problem.

These setbacks, experts say, could delay key upcoming Chinese space missions, including the lunar and Mars probes, as well as an indigenous space station.

–IANS

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