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CZ-2F Space Launch Vehicles

In 1992, with the approval of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, China began the development of piloted space-travel technology. The CZ-2F represents a modest extension of the existing CZ-2E with a 2-stage core vehicle and four strap-on stages, all employing UDMH and nitrogen tetroxide. The CZ-2F was designed to support the Chinese piloted spaceflight effort, with an initial launch in Novmbers 1999. In June 1999 images purporting to be those of a version of China's Long March booster capable of launching a piloted spacecraft were made public. While some "enhancement" may have taken place, there is evidently considerable basis in truth of these images of the Long March 2F.

A CZ-2F rocket will launch Shenzhou 11 to the Tiangong-2 space laboratory. The 62m-long CZ-2F is a man-rated two-stage design, with structural modifications to allow carriage of heavier Shenzhou capsules, plus it has more redundant systems to enhance safety. This rocket represents Chinaís technological prowess and the nationís space aspirations.

The Long March 2F is China's only type that can launch manned spacecraft. It runs 52 meters high and weighs 500 tons, almost the weight of an Airbus 380 plane. Ninety percent of its weight comes from the fuel it carries. The fuel will power the 9 main engines it has. The Long March 2F is also very reliable. Experts say that in theory, one instance of functional failure in 100 launches may occur, and for launches when astronauts' lives may be threatened, it's three out of one thousand. By mid-2016, Long March 2F series rockets had conducted 11 launches, and all have been successful.


[preliminary data, based on LM-2E]
Background Information
First Launch:
November 1999
Flight Rate:
1-3 per year
Launch Site:
Jiuquan Space Launch Center, China
18,500 lb to LEO; 7,700 lb to GTO


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


  • Two-stage vehicle with four strap-on boosters
  • Stage 1 consists of four YF-20B motors that burn UDMH/N2O4, providing 665,800 lb of total thrust
  • Stage 2 uses one YF-22B engine and four YF-23B verniers burning UDMH/N2O4, generating a total thrust of 177,200 lb
  • Each strap-on booster uses a single YF-20B liquid engine, generating 166,450 lb of thrust each


58.34 meters
Launch Weight:
479,700 kg
3.35 meters
Liftoff Thrust:
1,331,600 lb
Payload Fairing:
39.2 ft x 13.8 ft

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