Long March (Chang Zeng, CZ)
A series of Chinese launch vehicles, the most recent of which support China's
current unmanned and nascent manned space programs. Long March rockets are
descendants of ballistic missiles developed by China in the 1960s following
the breakdown of Sino-Soviet relations in June 1959. They fall into three
China's first orbital launch vehicle, derived from the DF-3 (Dong Fang =
"east wind") missile which was designed by Tsien
Hsue-shen but never built. A 29.5-m-long three-stage rocket, the first
two stages of which used liquid propellant and the third solid propellant,
the CZ-1 launched the first two Chinese satellites in 1970-71 after a failure
in November 1969.
Little is known of this launch vehicle except that, like the CZ-2, it was
developed from the two-stage, liquid-propellant DF-5 intercontinental ballistic
missile (ICBM); FB stands for Feng Bao, meaning "storm." It made four orbital
flights between 1975 and 1981.
Believed to be very similar to FB-1; it was launched only once, in November
The B designation was reserved for FB-1.
A successful low-Earth-orbit rocket with a payload of about 2,800 kg, derived
from the DF-5 ICBM, which formed the basis for future Long March launch
vehicles. On Oct. 6, 1992, on its 13th flight, the CZ-2C successfully launched
the Swedish Freja satellite as a copassenger. On Apr. 28, 1993, the Chinese
Great Wall Industrial Corporation and Motorola signed a contract for multiple
launch of Iridium satellites using the CZ-2C/SD,
a 2C variant with a newly developed Smart Dispenser and improved second
stage tanks and engines. The first deployment launches for the Iridium
program (each carrying two satellites) went ahead successfully in 1997-98.
A three-stage launch vehicle designed to place satellites into geostationary
transfer orbit (GTO) or sun-synchronous orbit. The majority of the technology
and flight hardware used in the CZ-3, including the first and second stages,
was proven by the CZ-2C. The new third stage was equipped with a liquid
oxygen/liquid hydrogen cryogenic
engine. The CZ-3's GTO payload was about 1,500 kg .
Similar to the CZ-3 but with a more powerful third stage, raising GTO payload
capacity to about 2,700 kg, and more capable attitude control system. By
June 1998, the CZ-3A had made three consecutive successful launches and
was offered to international customers.
The most powerful Long March launch vehicle with a payload capacity of about
5,000 kg. It was based on the CZ-3A but had enlarged propellant tanks, larger
fairing, and four boosters strapped onto the core stage.
A launch vehicle that combined the CZ-3B core with two boosters from the
CZ-2E. The standard CZ-3C fairing is 9.56 m long and 4.0 m in diameter.
A three-stage vehicle that uses storable propellants and is intended for
launching satellites into polar or sun-synchronous orbits. It differs from
the CZ-3 mainly in its third stage which features thin-wall tankage and
two gimbaled engines. On Sep. 7, 1988, the CZ-4A made its inaugural flight,
successfully launching China's first experimental meteorological satellite.
The CZ-4B, introduced in 1999, is an improved model with enhanced third
stage and fairing. With a length of 44.1 m and a first stage thrust of 300
tons, it can launch a payload of 4,680 kg into LEO or 1,650 kg into a sun-synchronous
A two-stage launch vehicle with storable propellants, suitable for launching
a variety of LEO satellites. Developed and manufactured by the Shanghai
Academy of Space Flight Technology, the CZ-2D had a typical payload capability
of 3,500 kg in a 200 km circular orbit. Its first stage was identical to
that of the CZ-4. The second stage was essentially the same as that of the
CZ-4, except for an improved vehicle equipment bay.
The largest Chinese launch vehicle, using four liquid rocket booster strap-ons
to reach LEO payload capabilities approaching those of the Proton,
Titan, or Ariane.
The CZ-2E had a maximum payload capability of 9,500 kg. With a perigee kick
motor the CZ-2E could put 3,500 kg into GTO.
A man-rated version of CZ-2E. Modifications probably are related to improved
redundancy of systems, strengthened upper stage to handle large 921-1 spacecraft
fairing, and launch escape tower. See also Shenzhou.
A planned upgrade of CZ-2E with enlarged boosters the size of the CZ-2C
first stage, probably intended for the eventual launch of Chinese space
MISSILES, AND LAUNCH VEHICLES