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CZ-3A Space Launch Vehicle

With its limited payload capacity and the continued growth of GEO spacecraft, the CZ-3 was joined in 1994 by the CZ-3A. The new launch vehicle incorporates a lengthened first stage, a pair of more powerful LH/LOX YF-75 engines in the third stage, and an improved, light-weight flight control system. The LEO payload capacity of the CZ-3A is 6.5-metric tons (compared to 5.5 metric tons for the CZ-3) and the GTO payload capacity is 2.6 metric tons.

Both 1994 flights of the CZ-3A were successful, although the payload of the second mission malfunctioned and could not reach its intended orbit.

LM-3A (China)

Background Information
First Launch:
February 1994
Flight Rate:
2-3 per year
Launch Site:
Xichang Space Launch Center, China
15,800 lb to LEO; 5,500 lb to GTO (31.1 degrees)


  • Chinese rocket program started in the late 1950s
  • Evolved from Chinese surface-to-surface series IRBMs
  • LM-3A is enhanced version of the LM-3 (improved cryogenic upper stage)


  • Three-stage liquid fueled vehicle
  • Stage 1 consists of four YF-20B motors burning UDMH/N2O4 providing a total thrust of 665,450 lb
  • Stage 2 uses one YF-22B engine and four YF-23B verniers burning UDMH/N2O4 for a total thrust of 177,200 lb
  • Stage 3 uses two YF-75 engines burning LOX/LH2 providing a thrust of 35,200 lb


172 ft
Launch Weight:
529,000 lb
11 ft
Liftoff Thrust:
665,450 lb
Payload Fairing:
29.2 ft x 11.0 ft


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