Chang Zheng 3B (Long March 3B)
Launch vehicle Chang Zheng 3B (Long March 3B)
Launch site Xichang, People's Republic of China
Date/Time 2009-08-31 0928 UTC
Description third stage underperformance
Cause foreign object (quality control problem?)
Payload Palapa D (Palapa D1)
Desired orbit 200 km x 50,290 km x 24 degrees at injection


Indonesia's Palapa D satellite was stranded in a lower-than-desired orbit after the failure of the Chang Zheng 3B launch vehicle's third stage. The engine shut down early, leaving the satellite in a 217 km x 21,138 km x 22.4 degrees orbit. The satellite on 2 September used its on-board propulsion to reach a 216 x 35,687 km x 22.2 degrees transfer orbit.

The flight anomaly investigation was concluded in early November 2009, China Great Wall Industry Corp. said in December 2009.

The investigation has shown that the cause for the abnormal thrust decrease of the third stage Engine I was the local leakage of the gas generator caused by local heat and flux, which was induced by foreign objects blocking the liquid hydrogen injectors.

In accordance with the malfunction cause, corresponding corrective actions were taken, including a modification of ground testing procedures.

Last updated: 23 January 2010

Launch Failures Chronology