An upper stage malfunction has left a Chinese satellite in a lower-than-planned orbit after a launch Sunday.

The Long March 3B lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 12:12 p.m. Eastern carrying the Chinasat-9A satellite.

It was not until early Monday, though, that Chinese officials announced that the third stage of the rocket malfunctioned, leaving the satellite in a lower orbit than planned.

Officials did not provide additional details about the satellite’s orbit, but did state that the satellite had deployed its solar panels and was functioning normally.

The satellite carries a Ku-band payload and was planned to operate from 92 degrees east in GEO. [gbtimes]

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Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...