CZ-3 Space Launch Vehicle
The CZ-3 launch vehicle was introduced in 1984 to provide the PRC with its initial GEO mission capability. The vehicle also marked the first use of a high technology upper stage and led to China's entry into the commercial space launch services market. The CZ-3 is a 3-stage launch vehicle with the first two stages essentially identical to the CZ-2C. The third stage utilizes a restartable, liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen engine designated YF-73. The GTO capacity of the CZ-3 is 1.5 metric tons (References 159, 164, 180-184).
Although the inaugural flight of the CZ-3 on 29 January 1984 failed when the third stage did not restart to maneuver from a LEO parking orbit to GTO, the next six missions (April, 1984 - April, 1990) were successful. Only one CZ-3 mission was attempted during 1991-1993, and this flight resulted in the stranding of a domestic PRO communications satellite in the wrong orbit. Lift-off occurred on 28 December 1991, and orbital insertion into the planned LEO was accomplished. However, when the third stage was reignited, a propellant pressurization malfunction caused a premature shut-down, leaving the payload with an apogee of only 2,450 km instead of nearly 36,000 km as required. The CZ-3 returned to flight on 21 July 1994, successfully inserting the APstar 1 spacecraft in GTO on a commercial mission (References 185 and 186).
The space program of the People's Republic was again hit hard in 1996 when two of its three commercial missions failed. A LM-3 failed on August 18, when its payload, a
Hughes HS-376 satellite called the ChinaSat-7 (Zhongxing 7) was left in an unusable orbit due incomplete burn of the third stage of the rocket. A successful launch of a LM-3 occurred on July 3, launching China's communications satellite Apstar 1A.
The People's Republic's space program showed strong signs of recovery during 1997, launching a CZ-3 from Xichang on 10 June 1997 carrying the country's first geosynchronous weather satellite (Feng Yun 2).
- First Launch:
- January 1984
- Flight Rate:
- 2-3 per year
- Launch Site:
- Xichang Space Launch Center, China
- 3,100 lb to GTO, 31.1 degrees
- 11,000 lb to LEO
- 2,100 lb to Earth Escape Trajectory
Chinese rocket program started in the late 1950s
- Evolved from Chinese surface-to-surface (CSS) series IRBMs
- LM-3 is enhanced version of the LM-2; addition of a cryogenic upper stage
Three-stage liquid fueled vehicle
- Stage 1 consists of four YF-20 motors burning UDMH/N2O4 providing a total thrust of 625,800 lb
- Stage 2 uses one YF-22 engine burning UDMH/N2O4 providing a total thrust of 172,100 lb
- Stage 3 uses one YF-73 engine burning LOX/LH2 providing a thrust of 9,900 lb
- 144 ft
- Launch Weight:
- 444,400 lb
- 11 ft
- Liftoff Thrust:
- 625,800 lb
- Payload Fairing:
- 19.2 ft x 8.5 ft
159. Zhao Bing, "A System Analysis of the Launch Vehicle Technology in China", Paper 92-824, 43rd Congress
of the International Astronautical Federation, August-September 1992.
160. China In Space, China Great Wall Industry Corp., 1988.
161. Space in China. Launch Services and Space Technology, China Great Wall Industry Corp., 1989.
162. Xu Jian, Progress in Carrier Rocket Technology", Beijing Review, 3-9 September 1990, pp. 27-30.
163. G. Pike, "Chinese Launch Services, A User's Guide", Space Policy, May 1991, pp.103-115.
164. Long March Launch System, Ministry of Astronautics, 1985.
165. P. S. Clark, Chinese Launch Vehicles - Chang Zheng 2", Jane's Intelligence Review, May 1992, pp.231-234.
166. P. S. Clark, "Chinese Launch Vehicles - The Rest of the Story", Jane's Intelligence Review, October 1990,
180. LM-3 Launch Vehicle, specification sheet distributed by China Great Wall Industry Corp., 1992.
181. Long March-3, specification sheet distributed by China Great Wall Industry Corp., 1991.
182. Long March 3 User's Manual, Ministry of Astronautics, May 1985.
183. P.S. Clark, "Chinese Launch Vehicles - Chang Zheng 3", Jane's Intelligence Review, August 1992, pp. 372-376.
184. Wang Zhiren and Gu Mingchu, "Oxygen/Hydrogen Rocket Engine For CZ-3", Paper IAF-89-299, 40th
Congress of the Astronautical Federation, October 1989.
185. Xinhua News Agency, 7 January 1992.
186. "Chinese Satellite Ends Up in Wrong Orbit", Spaceflight, February 1992, p. 38.
Sources and Resources
Implemented by Christina Lindborg, 1997 Scoville Fellow
Maintained by Webmaster
Updated Friday, June 19, 1998 9:14:23 AM