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CZ-2 / FB-1 Space Launch Vehicles

The CZ-2 and the companion FB-1 (Feng Bao -Storm) were derived from the DF-5 ballistic missile, and consisting of two stages burning UDMH and nitrogen tetroxide.

The decision on the DF-5 (or CCS-4) intercontinental missile was made in May 1966. It was to carry the hydrogen bomb, which was tested in July 1967. Two space launchers derived from this missile were to be developed by the CALT in Beijing and the SAST in Shanghai. These were the LM-2 launchers designed for the 1.8-t FSW recoverable satellites, and the FB-1 designed for the mysterious satellites of Project 701 (1 t).

Its first ground test of the 284-t-thrust YF-21 motor was run in June 1969. The YF-21 consists of four 71-t-thrust YF-20's. Its second stage is powered by a YF-24 motor consisting of a 73-t-thrust YF-22 and the 4.7-t-thrust YF-23 vernier motor.

The DF-5's first flight took place on 10 September 1971 with a 3-t nuclear ogive. The DF-5's first test launch in the Pacific did not take place until May 1980, and its silo deployment took place in 1981.

The prototype of the FB-1 flew on 10 August 1972, but its first two satellite-payload flights, in 1972 and 1974, failed. The FB-1 was essentially a similar derivative of the DF-5 produced by the Shanghai Academy of Space Technology [SAST]. However, in practice this Shanghai product proved unsatisfactory, demonstrating poor reliability. It was the era of the cultural revolution. The Shanghai "gang of four" was held responsible for the FB-1 failures between 1973 and 1981, and it was soon withdrawn from service. Afterwards the SAST was called upon to provide the first two stages of the CALT's LM-3.

During the first flight of LM-2 in 1970, the vehicle lost attitude stability after liftoff and was automatically destroyed. The failure analyses determined that the accident resulted from a severed wire connection with the pitch rate gyro signal. The control system was modified, manufacturing and assembly quality control procedures were improved, and the functional test procedures were revised.

The CZ-2 was soon replaced by the currently operational CZ-2C, which featured a slightly lengthened second stage. The modified Long March 2C was successfully launched in November 1975, orbiting Chinese recoverable satellite.

LM-2 / FB-1

Background Information
First Launch:
Flight Rate:
not in service
Launch Site:
lb Sun-synchronous
lb to LEO


  • Chinese rocket program started in the late 1950s
  • Evolved from Chinese surface-to-surface series IRBMs


  • Stage 1 consists of four YF-20 motors that burn UDMH/N2O4 providing 625,800 lb of total thrust
  • Stage 2 uses one YF-22 engine that burns UDMH/N2O4 providing 171,200 lb of thrust


Launch Weight:
11 ft
Liftoff Thrust:
625,800 lb
Payload Fairing:

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:50:04 ZULU