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CZ-2C/SD Space Launch Vehicles

In order to meet the dual launch requirement for the Motorola IRIDIUM mobile satellite telecommunication network, whose primary, CALT developed the LM-2C/SD, a LM-2C with a newly-designed upper stage, the Smart Dispenser (SD). The payload fairing of the LM-2C/SD consists of nose dome, forward cone section and cylindrical section . The nose dome is made of non-metallic RF-transparent material. The cylindrical section and the forward cone section are of metallic honeycomb structure. LM-2C/SD launch vehicle sends the SD into an initial elliptical parking orbit, and at initial apogee the Dispenser's SRM (Solid Rocket Motor) fires to place the combination into a circular orbit.

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/SD (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


40 meters
Launch Weight:
Liftoff Thrust:
Payload Fairing:
5.061 meters X 3.35 meters diameter

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Updated Friday, June 19, 1998 11:14:27 AM