The Changzheng 2C (CZ-2C, or "Long March 2C") was the second variant in the Changzheng 2 family, having served as a workhorse for the Chinese space programme for over three decades. The rocket was similar to the original CZ-2 in design, but was incorporated with a number of improvements for increased payload capacity and reliability. Early variants of the rocket had a payload capacity of 2,400kg to LEO, and this was increased to 4,000kg on later variants.
After the initial success in the CZ-2/FSW programme, the Chinese military ordered additional CZ-2 rockets in the early 1980s to support further FSW launches. The First Academy began to convert some examples in the Batch-02 production of the DF-5 ICBM into space launch vehicles in 1980, but used the opportunity to introduce a number of improvements to the rocket’s design. This version of the rocket was designated CZ-2C .
The CZ-2C made its maiden flight on 9 September 1982, successfully placing the FSW-0-04 satellite into orbit with a record accuracy in orbit insertion. Five more launches were conducted between August 1983 and August 1987, all of which were successful. The 1987 flight also carried two French microgravity experiment packages on the piggyback, the first ever space launch service for a foreign customer.
In order to support the launch of the heavier FSW-1 (Jianbing 1A) satellite, the First Academy made further improvements to the CZ-2C design, including adding the rocket with the telemetry system of the DF-5 ICBM. To distinguish it from the previous CZ-2C, this variant was internally designated CZ-2C Batch-02. The maiden flight of the rocket took place on 9 September 1987, placing the 2,076kg FSW-1-01 into orbit.
In 1993, China signed a contract with Motorola to launch 12 satellites for its Iridium global wireless communications satellite network. The CZ-2C/SD was developed to support these missions. Modifications on the launcher included a 3.35m diameter payload fairing, a stretched second stage for additional propellant, and an improved second-stage engine with higher expansion ratio nozzles. The lift-off mass was increased from 192t to 213t.
The most important feature on the Changzheng 2C/SD was the “Smart Dispenser" (SD), a three-axis stabilised upper stage using a solid rocket kick motor for insertion of two satellites into orbit in a single launch. Developed by CALT, the solid rocket motor consists one 742kN thrust main motor and four 74.1kN vernier venire motors, with its own onboard guidance system.
Between 1997 and 1999, the CZ-2C/SD made 7 flights from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre, sending two mock satellites and 12 operational Iridium satellites into the orbit.
In the early 2000s, CALT made further improvements to the CZ-2C in order to support the launch of the 4,000kg-mass FSW-4 (Jianbing 2). The overall length of the rocket was stretched by 3 metres to accommodate additional propellant. The rocket made three successful flight between 2004 and 2006, putting two FSW-4 satellites and a Shijian 8 satellite into orbit.
In order to support the launch of the Tance scientific research satellites (“Double Star” Project), the CZ-2C was added with a spin-stabilised solid motor kick stage designated SM. The first flight took place on 30 December 2003 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, followed by the second flight on 25 July 2004 from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre.
On 6 September 2008, a CZ-2C placed two satellites, Huanjing 1A and 1B, into their intended orbits. This rocket was fitted with a new 3-axis stabilised solid motor kick stage designated SMA.
On 18 August 2011, a CZ-2C carrying the Shijian 11-04 satellite failed to send the payload into its intended orbit due to a malfunction of the rocket. This was the first ever launch failure of the CZ-2C.
|Overall length||31.17 m (CZ-2C)
40 m (CZ-2C/SD)
|Core stage diameter||3.35 m|
|Take-off mass||192 tonnes (CZ-2C)
213 tonnes (CZ-2C/SD)
|Take-off thrust||2,786 kN|
|LEO capacity||2,400 kg (CZ-2C)
3,000 kg (CZ-2C/SD)
|Length||23.72 m||8.71 m|
|Diameter||3.35 m||3.35 m|
|Gross mass||151 tonnes||38.2 tonnes|
|Empty mass||8.60 tonnes||3.2 tonnes|
|Propellant mass||143 tonnes||35 tonnes (CZ-2C)
55 tonnes (CZ-2C/SD)
(Vernier) 4 X YF-23
|Thrust*||2,786 kN||(Main) 720 kN
(Vernier) 4X 46.0 kN
|Isp*||2,540 N.s/kg||(Main) 2,834 N.s/kg
(Vernier) 2,762 N.s/kg
|Burn time||130 sec||(Main) 112 sec
(Vernier) 287 sec
* Sea-level values for the first-stage, and vacuum values for the second-stage
|Length||3.144 m (Type A)
7.125 m (Type B)
|Diameter||2.2 m (Type A)
3.35 m (Type B)
- The CZ-2A and 2B designations had already been given to the two three-stage versions of the CZ-2 for the launch of the geostationary communications satellite. They were later re-designated CZ-4 and CZ-3 respectively.
Last updated: 23 February 2012