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CZ-3C Space Launch Vehicle

The CZ-3C will fill the gap between the CZ-3A and CZ-3B by using only two strap-on boosters, giving it a GTO payload capacity of 3.7 metric tons (References 159, 187-188). The LM-3C inaugural flight was to carry up the Argentine satellite Nahuel-1B in 1997. But because of the failure of the first LM-3B in February 1996, the Chinese decided to put additional efforts into the LM-3C. The putting in service of the LM-3C was therefore postponed to a later date, with initial launches being effected by LM-3B's.

The January 2010 Long March rocket launch in China validated the corrective actions taken following an upper-stage failure aboard a similar CZ-3B vehicle in August 2009, according to the China Great Wall Industry Corp. The failure was due to engine gas generator burn through but the satellite was properly placed with on board reserves. It also proved that China can correct problems with its rockets and commercial satellites. Early DFH-4 spacecraft had problems once in orbit, but the third one launched in October 2008 had none. The DFH-4 is especially important for China's Long March rocket builders because of a decadelong U.S. government policy barring the launch of U.S. satellite components on Chinese rockets.


Background Information
First Launch:
Flight Rate:
1 per year?
Launch Site:
Xichang Space Launch Center, China
3,700 kg to GTO


  • Chinese rocket program started in the late 1950s
  • Evolved from Chinese surface-to-surface series IRBMs
  • LM-3C is the same as LM-2E first stage with strap-ons, LM-3 second stage, and LM-3A LO2/LH2 third stage


  • Three-stage vehicle with two strap-on boosters
  • Stage 1 consists of four YF-20 motors burning UDMH/N2O4 providing a total thrust of 664,000 lb
  • Stage 2 uses one YF-22 engine and four YF-23 verniers burning UDMH/N2O4 generating a total thrust of 172,400 lb
  • Stage 3 uses two YF-75 engines burning LO2/LH2 providing a thrust of 35,200 lb


190 ft
Launch Weight:
11 ft
Liftoff Thrust:
Payload Fairing: D>39.2 ft x 13.8 ft

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Page last modified: 18-11-2013 18:23:07 ZULU