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CZ-2C Space Launch Vehicles

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 for the past decade, 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.

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).

Iridium was the anchor customer for the CZ-2C/SD, with two dummy payloads launched from the Taiyuan launch center on 01 September 1997, and two operational spacecraft on 08 December 1997. Additional pairs of Iridium spacecraft were launched in March and May 1998.

LM-2C (China)

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


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