Long March 2E

The Long March 2E, also known as the Chang Zheng 2E, CZ-2E and LM-2E, was a Chinese orbital carrier rocket from the Long March 2 family. The Long March 2E was a three-stage carrier rocket that was designed to launch commercial communications satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Launches took place from launch complex 2 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.

Long March 2E
Long March 2E
FunctionCarrier rocket
Country of origin People's Republic of China
Height49.70 metres (163.1 ft)[1]
Diameter3.35 metres (11.0 ft)[1]
Mass460,000 kilograms (1,010,000 lb)[1]
Payload to LEO9,500 kilograms (20,900 lb)[1]
Payload to GTO3,500 kilograms (7,700 lb)[1]
Associated rockets
FamilyLong March
DerivativesLong March 2F
Launch history
Launch sitesLA-2, XSLC
Total launches7
First flight16 July 1990
Last flight28 December 1995
No. boosters4
Length15.33 m (50.3 ft)
Diameter2.25 m (7 ft 5 in)
Empty mass3,000 kg (6,600 lb)
Gross mass40,754 kg (89,847 lb)
Propellant mass37,754 kg (83,233 lb)
Engines1 YF-20B
Thrust740.4 kN (166,400 lbf)
Specific impulse2,556.2 m/s (260.66 s)
Burn time127 s
First stage
Length28.47 m (93.4 ft)
Diameter3.35 m (11.0 ft)
Empty mass12,550 kg (27,670 lb)
Gross mass198,825 kg (438,334 lb)
Propellant mass186,280 kg (410,680 lb)
Engines4 YF-20B
Thrust2,961.6 kN (665,800 lbf)
Specific impulse2,556.2 m/s (260.66 s)
Burn time160 s
Second stage
Length14.22 m (46.7 ft)
Diameter3.35 m (11.0 ft)
Empty mass4,955 kg (10,924 lb)
Gross mass91,414 kg (201,533 lb)
Propellant mass84,759 kg (186,862 lb)
Engines1 YF-24B
(1 x YF-22B (Main))
(4 x YF-23B (Vernier))
Thrust738.4 kN (166,000 lbf) (Main)
47.1 kN (10,600 lbf) (Vernier)
Specific impulse2,922.4 m/s (298.00 s) (Main)
2,834.1 m/s (289.00 s) (Vernier)
Burn time301 s
Third stage – EPKM(optional)
Length2.936 m (9 ft 7.6 in)
Diameter1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)
Empty mass557 kg (1,228 lb)
Gross mass6,001 kg (13,230 lb)
Propellant mass5,444 kg (12,002 lb)
Engines1 FG-46
Thrust190 kN (43,000 lbf)
Specific impulse2,870 m/s (293 s)
Burn time87s

The Long March 2E made its maiden flight on 16 July 1990. However, the rocket had design flaws that caused 2 launch failures and 1 partial failure in just 7 missions. The rocket was retired on 28 December 1995 in favor of the Long March 3B. The Long March 2E forms the basis of the Long March 2F, used to launch crewed Shenzhou missions. The booster rockets have also been used on the Long March 3B and Long March 3C.


The Long March 2E made its maiden flight on 16 July 1990 and made 7 launches in total. Two of the launches were failures that destroyed the satellite, and one launch was a partial failure that damaged the satellite. All of the failures were caused by excessive vibration.

The first launch failure occurred on 21 December 1992, during the launch of the original Optus B2. Windshear caused the payload fairing to implode 45 seconds into flight, destroying the satellite. The rocket continued to orbit, deploying what was left of the upper stage and payload into a low Earth orbit.[2] U.S. satellite manufacturer Hughes recommended reinforcement of the fairing. However, China chose not to follow the recommendation and instead added more rivets for the successful launch of Optus B3.[3]

The second failure occurred on 25 January 1995 during the launch of Apstar 2, when the rocket exploded 50 seconds after liftoff. Based on readings from instrumentation that it added to the satellite, Hughes concluded that wind shear had again caused the collapse of a structurally-deficient fairing. However, Liu Jiyuan, the Director of the China Aerospace Corporation, claimed that the rocket-satellite interface was at fault and threatened never to do business with Hughes again. The two sides finally agreed that the interface and the fairing would both be redesigned.[3][4]

The information provided by Hughes caused great political controversy in the United States, since it could be used to improve Chinese rockets and ballistic missiles. In 1998, the U.S. Congress classified satellite technology as a munition and gave control over export licenses to the State Department under ITAR.[5] No export licenses to China have been approved since 1998, and an official at the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security emphasized in 2016 that "no U.S.-origin content, regardless of significance, regardless of whether it’s incorporated into a foreign-made item, can go to China."[6]

The return-to-flight payload, AsiaSat 2, had to pay a 27% premium for satellite insurance instead of the usual 17–20%. Although the satellite was delivered to the correct orbit, the launch was a partial failure. Excessive forces during the launch caused a misalignment of the antenna feed horns on the Ku band transponders, reducing the satellite's coverage area.[3] AsiaSat filed a satellite insurance claim for $58 million.[7]

After one more successful launch, the Long March 2E was retired at the end of 1995.

List of Launches

Flight number Date (UTC) Launch site Upper stage Payload Orbit Result
1 July 16, 1990
LA-2, XSLC SPTS-M14 Optus-B mass simulator
2 August 13, 1992
LA-2, XSLC Star-63F Optus-B1 GTO Success[note]
3 December 21, 1992
LA-2, XSLC Star-63F Optus-B2 GTO Failure
4 August 27, 1994
LA-2, XSLC Star-63F Optus-B3 GTO Success
5 January 25, 1995
LA-2, XSLC Star-63F Apstar 2 GTO Failure
6 November 28, 1995
LA-2, XSLC EPKM AsiaSat 2 GTO Success[note]
7 December 28, 1995
LA-2, XSLC EPKM Echostar 1 GTO Success

^note Original launch attempt on March 22, 1992 at 10:40 UTC was aborted after engine ignition due to one booster engine igniter shutdown after metal contaminants caused electric arcing. Launch vehicle suffered damage and had to be replaced.

^note Excessive forces during the launch caused a misalignment of the antenna feed horns on the Ku band transponders, reducing the satellite's coverage area.


  1. Mark Wade. "CZ-2E". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  2. Mark, Wade. "HS 601". Encyclopedia Astronautica.
  3. "CZ-2E Space Launch Vehicle". GlobalSecurity.org.
  4. Zinger, Kurtis J. (2014). "An Overreaction that Destroyed an Industry: The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Satellite Export Controls" (PDF). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. Zelnio, Ryan (January 9, 2006). "A short history of export control policy". The Space Review.
  6. de Selding, Peter B. (April 14, 2016). "U.S. ITAR satellite export regime's effects still strong in Europe". SpaceNews.
  7. "Ku Transponder Shortfall Prompts AsiaSat Claim". Aviation Week & Space Technology. September 23, 1996.

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