Long March 2E

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Long March 2E
Long March 2E
Function Carrier rocket
Manufacturer CALT
Country of origin  People's Republic of China
Height 49.70 metres (163.1 ft)[1]
Diameter 3.35 metres (11.0 ft)[1]
Mass 460,000 kilograms (1,010,000 lb)[1]
Stages 3
Payload to LEO 9,500 kilograms (20,900 lb)[1]
Payload to GTO 3,500 kilograms (7,700 lb)[1]
Associated rockets
Family Long March
Derivatives Long March 2F
Launch history
Status Retired
Launch sites LA-2, XSLC
Total launches 7
Successes 5
Failures 2
First flight 16 July 1990
Last flight 28 December 1995
No. boosters 4
Length 15.33 m (50.3 ft)
Diameter 2.25 m (7 ft 5 in)
Empty mass 3,000 kg (6,600 lb)
Gross mass 40,754 kg (89,847 lb)
Propellant mass 37,754 kg (83,233 lb)
Engines 1 YF-20B
Thrust 740.4 kN (166,400 lbf)
Specific impulse 2,556.2 m/s (260.66 s)
Burn time 127 s
Fuel N2O4 / UDMH
First stage
Length 28.47 m (93.4 ft)
Diameter 3.35 m (11.0 ft)
Empty mass 12,550 kg (27,670 lb)
Gross mass 198,825 kg (438,334 lb)
Propellant mass 186,280 kg (410,680 lb)
Engines 4 YF-20B
Thrust 2,961.6 kN (665,800 lbf)
Specific impulse 2,556.2 m/s (260.66 s)
Burn time 160 s
Fuel N2O4 / UDMH
Second stage
Length 14.22 m (46.7 ft)
Diameter 3.35 m (11.0 ft)
Empty mass 4,955 kg (10,924 lb)
Gross mass 91,414 kg (201,533 lb)
Propellant mass 84,759 kg (186,862 lb)
Engines 1 YF-24B
(1 x YF-22B (Main))
(4 x YF-23B (Vernier))
Thrust 738.4 kN (166,000 lbf) (Main)
47.1 kN (10,600 lbf) (Vernier)
Specific impulse 2,922.4 m/s (298.00 s) (Main)
2,834.1 m/s (289.00 s) (Vernier)
Burn time 301 s
Fuel N2O4 / UDMH
Third stage – EPKM(optional)
Length 2.936 m (9 ft 7.6 in)
Diameter 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)
Empty mass 557 kg (1,228 lb)
Gross mass 6,001 kg (13,230 lb)
Propellant mass 5,444 kg (12,002 lb)
Engines 1 FG-46
Thrust 190 kN (43,000 lbf)
Specific impulse 2,870 m/s (293 s)
Burn time 87s

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.

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 manned 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. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b c "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).
  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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