Two Gaojing satellites delivered to incorrect orbit on 28 December 2016 are almost in the end of their journey to correct orbital position.

Problems with Gaojing (also known as Superview-1-1 and Superview-1-2) appeared just after launch from Chinese Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center at 03:53 UTC on 28 December 2016. Long March 2D rocket suffered for unexplained problems during first stage burn. Stage separated later than it was planned (7 seconds after time) and second stage performed longer burn for about 10 seconds. Central engine of the second stage (YF-22C) used most of the propellant and after cut off, four YF-23C had not sufficient amount of propellant to put satellites into correct orbit. Both Gaojing and BY-70 2U CubeSat were injected into 213 km x 524 km orbit inclined at 97.6°.

Specialists from mission control center had no other way but to order both satellites to use their propellant for reaching planned 500 km SSO orbit. Of course increased fuel consumption means, that for future orbit keeping, attitude control system would be using limited amount of propellant; mission time will be substantially reduced.

Luckily for the moment space journey which  started already on 28 December, is almost finished. Yesterday Gaojing-1-1 reached following orbit: 484 x 528 km x 97.61°. Gaojing-1-2 six hours later at 12:06 UTC was on 509 x 533 km x 97.57° orbit (it begun orbit raise maneuver on 28 December earlier than Gaojing-1-1). This orbit is quite close to planned 500 km SSO – according to, satellites will now pass orbital tests and will enter the service.