Long March 2 (rocket family)

Long March 2 rocket family or Chang Zheng 2 rocket family as in Chinese pinyin is an expendable launch system operated by the People's Republic of China. They are part of the larger Long March -rocket family.


The several versions of the launcher include:

Long March 2 (rocket family)
Derivatives Status First flight Launches Successes Failures
Long March 2A Retired 5 November 1974 1 0 1
Long March 2C Active 26 November 1975 44 43 1
Long March 2D Active 9 August 1992 22 22 0
Long March 2E Retired 16 July 1990 7 5 2
Long March 2E(A) In development
Long March 2F Active 19 November 1999 11 11 0

Development and design falls mostly under the auspices of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The rockets use the abbreviations LM-2 family for export, and CZ-2 family within China, as "Chang Zheng" means "Long March" in Chinese pinyin.

Long March 2 is the base model of the Long March 2 rocket family, derived from Chinese first ICBM DF-5. The development work began in 1970, the first rocket was launched on November 5, 1974,[1] but the launch failed. The production of the rocket ended in 1979. Although not officially reported, it is believed that Long March 2A and Long March 2B were assigned to derivations which targeted to launch the first Chinese static orbit communication satellite Dong Fang Hong 2 into GTO, with different 3rd stage solutions. The original Long March 2A, which planned to use hypergolic rocket fuels as the third stage, was later renamed to Long March 4. In addition, the original Long March 2B, which used cryogenic fuel as third stage, was later renamed to Long March 3. Each of them derived into a full rocket family with various configurations, but the core 1st stage and 2nd stage are mostly kept unchanged.

Long March 2C and Long March 2D's first launches occurred in 1975 and 1992 respectively.

The Long March 2E was the first in the Long March rocket family to introduce liquid rocket boosters, as well as a solid rocket perigee kick stage, to improve its GTO payload capacity to satisfy the domestic and international launch market in the 1990s. It was first launched in 1992.

The development of Long March 2F began in 1992, which is a man-rated version of Long March 2E.[2] Its first launch was in November 1999 (See also Shenzhou 1). This version is the safest model in the Long March 2 family, with 11 launches and no failure record. An unmanned derivative called Long March 2F/G carries the bulkier Tiangong space laboratories.[3]

Long March 2D and Long March 4 were developed by the Shanghai Academy of Space Flight Technology (SAST), while all others are developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).


Series 2A 2C 2D 2E 2F
Stages 2 2 2 3
(plus 4 Strap-on boosters)
(plus 4 Strap-on boosters)
Length (m) 31.170 35.150 33.667
(without shield)
49.686 62
Max. diameter (m) 3.35 3.35 3.35 7.85 7.85
Liftoff mass (t) 190 192 232 462 464
Liftoff thrust (kN) 2786 2786 2962 5923 6512
Payload (LEO, kg) 1800 2400 3100 9200 8400


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Long March 2.
  1. "Go Taikonauts! - Launch Vehicle". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  2. "Space Launchers - Long March". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  3. Jones, Morris (2016-01-27). "Last Launch for Long March 2F/G". Space Daily. Retrieved 2016-04-07. The principal difference between the Shenzhou-launching Long March 2F and its 2F/G cousin is easy to spot. The 2F/G carries a very different payload fairing at its top. This accounts. for the larger dimensions of the Tiangong laboratory, which wouldn't fit inside the standard payload fairing for the 2F.
    It also lacks an emergency escape system. With no astronauts on board, the escape rocket and stabilizer panels that help Shenzhou spacecraft to separate from their rocket in a launch failure are not needed. This simplifies the design and also reduces the weight of the rocket. That's critical. Tiangong modules weigh more than Shenzhou spacecraft, so this helps to keep the overall launch mass within performance limits.
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