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CZ-2C Space Launch Vehicles

The Long March 2C is a two-stage launch vehicle with storable propellant, suitable for launching a variety of LEO satellites. The LM-2C's typical payload capability is 2,800kg for a 200km×200km LEO. The LM-2C can be launched from either Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) or Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC).

The oldest operational Chinese launch vehicle is the CZ-2C which debuted in 1975 as the carrier of the FSW-class of recoverable low altitude satellites. Averaging one mission per year during the 1980s, the CZ-2C has a high reported reliability and a payload capacity of 2.8 metric tons to LEO. The CZ-2C is derived from the CSS-4 ballistic missile and consists of two stages burning UDMH and nitrogen tetroxide.

Since its first launch on November 26, 1975, the LM-2C launch vehicle has maintained a 100% success rate throughout its 14 flights from JSLC plus 4 LM-2C/SD flights from TSLC. In addition, on October 6, 1992, the Swedish Freja satellite was successfully launched as a copassenger on the LM-2C's thirteenth flight.

The single CZ-2C mission during 1993-1994 was launched on 8 October 1993 with a FSW-1 Earth observation spacecraft. Later in the decade, the CZ-2C may be mated with a small, solid-propellant perigee kick-stage to provide the vehicle with a modest GTO capability (References 158-166).

The LM-2C upper stage is designed for reducing space debris. During the design of the LM-2C launch vehicle, the space debris problem was considered for the first time. During the design of its software, the attitude of perigee of the LM-2C launch vehicle was designed to be lower than 190 km after its second stage is separated. Its orbital life is limited to less than two months. The LM-2C adopted the active disorbiting design. Compared with the advantages and disadvantages of the active disorbiting and passive disorbiting, the LM-2C adopted the active disorbiting design. After disorbiting, the upper stage perigee is 224 km and its apogee is 630 km. Its orbital life decreases from 53 years to two months.


Background Information
First Launch:
July 1975
Flight Rate:
2-3 per year
Launch Site:
1,650 lb Sun-synchronous
2,640 - 4,400 lb to LEO


  • Chinese rocket program started in the late 1950s
  • Evolved from Chinese surface-to-surface series IRBMs
  • LM-2C is enhanced version of the LM-2


  • Two-stage vehicle (AKMs available)
  • 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


115 ft
Launch Weight:
420,200 lb
11 ft
Liftoff Thrust:
625,800 lb
Payload Fairing:
23.4 ft x 10.9 ft




Mass of Propellant (t)






YF-21 (4xYF-20)

YF22(main) YF-23(Vernier)

Engine Trust (kN)


742 (Main) 47(Vernier)

Engine Specific Impulse (N.Sec/kg)


2991 (Main) 2834 (Vernier)

Diameter (m)


Lift-off Mass (t)


Overall Length (m)


Fairing Diameter (m)


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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:50:05 ZULU