In the first hours after separation, the satellite deploys its solar panels, adjusts its attitude with respect to the Earth and Sun, and performs manoeuvres to reach its final orbit. These operations are part of the positioning phase, which varies according to the mission: in low-Earth orbit, the satellite is usually injected into an orbital trajectory near the intended orbit; in geostationary orbit, it is injected into a transfer orbit first.
JASON-1 beginnings - video
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|On orbit, the satellite travels at a speed of 11,000 to 28,000 kilometres per hour, depending on its altitude. Various phenomena perturb its orbit, so it cannot hold its trajectory on its own. Stationkeeping operations, performed by ground controllers and the satellite’s onboard computer, make the necessary trajectory and attitude corrections throughout the mission to ensure that it continues to operate according to plan.|