Long March 2F


Long March 2F
Chang Zheng 2F "Shenjian"
FunctionCrew-rated orbital launch vehicle
ManufacturerChina Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT)
Country of originChina
Height62 metres (203 ft)[1]
Diameter3.35 metres (11.0 ft)[1]
Mass464,000 kilograms (1,023,000 lb)[1]
Payload to LEO
Mass8,400 kilograms (18,500 lb)[1]
Associated rockets
FamilyLong March 2
Launch history
Launch sitesJiuquan Satellite Launch Center, SLS
Total launches14
First flight19 November 1999
Last flight4 September 2020
No. boosters4
Length15.3 metres (50 ft)
Diameter2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in)
Empty mass3,200 kilograms (7,100 lb)
Gross mass41,000 kilograms (90,000 lb)
Engines1 YF-20B per booster
Thrust814 kilonewtons (183,000 lbf)
Total thrust3,256 kilonewtons (732,000 lbf)
Specific impulse291 seconds (2.85 km/s)
Burn time128 seconds
FuelN2O4 / UDMH
First stage
Length23.7 metres (78 ft)
Diameter3.4 metres (11 ft)
Empty mass9,500 kilograms (20,900 lb)
Gross mass196,500 kilograms (433,200 lb)
Engines4 YF-20B
Thrust3,256 kilonewtons (732,000 lbf)
Specific impulse291 seconds (2.85 km/s)
Burn time166 seconds
FuelN2O4 / UDMH
Second stage
Length13.5 metres (44 ft)
Diameter3.4 metres (11 ft)
Empty mass5,500 kilograms (12,100 lb)
Gross mass91,500 kilograms (201,700 lb)
Engines1 YF-24B
Thrust831 kilonewtons (187,000 lbf)
Specific impulse289 seconds (2.83 km/s)
Burn time300 seconds
FuelN2O4 / UDMH

The Long March 2F (Chinese: 长征二号F火箭 Changzheng 2F), also known as the CZ-2F, LM-2F and Shenjian (神箭, "the Divine Arrow"),[1] is a Chinese orbital carrier rocket, part of the Long March 2 rocket family. Designed to launch crewed Shenzhou (spacecraft), the Long March 2F is a human-rated two-stage version of the Long March 2E rocket, which in turn was based on the Long March 2C launch vehicle.[2] It is launched from complex SLS at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The Long March 2F made its maiden flight on 19 November 1999, with the Shenzhou 1 spacecraft. After the flight of Shenzhou 3, CPC General Secretary and President Jiang Zemin named the rocket 'Shenjian' meaning 'Divine Arrow'.[3]

On 15 October 2003, a Long March 2F launched Shenzhou 5, China's first human spaceflight. It has since launched the Shenzhou 6, Shenzhou 7, Shenzhou 9, Shenzhou 10 and Shenzhou 11 missions into orbit.[4][5]

Differences from the Long March 2E

Externally, the rocket is similar to the Long March 2E from which it was derived. Most of the changes involve the addition of redundant systems to improve safety, although there are some structural modifications that allow the rocket to support the heavier fairing required by the Shenzhou capsule. The rocket is also capable of lifting heavier payloads with the addition of extra boosters to the first stage.[6]

The rocket also has an "advanced fault monitoring and diagnosis system to help the astronauts escape in time of emergency" (in other words, a launch escape system), and is the first Chinese made rocket to be assembled and rolled out to its launch site vertically.[7]

A derivative called Long March 2F/G, first launched in 2011, was designed to launch space laboratories such as Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2. It dispenses with the launch escape system and sports a larger fairing to accommodate the bulkier payloads.[8]

Vibration issues

During the Shenzhou 5 flight, Yang Liwei became unwell due to heavy vibrations from the rocket. Although the problem was reduced somewhat by modifications to the rocket, vibrations were reported again in Shenzhou 6 necessitating further changes. According to Jing Muchun, chief designer of the Long March 2F "We made changes to the pipelines of the rocket engine, adjusting its frequency. A new design for the pressure accumulator produced evident results. The vibration has now been reduced by more than 50%".[9]

The predecessor Long March 2E had also been known for vibration. During two launches, excessive vibration caused the collapse of the payload fairing, destroying the Optus B2 and Apstar 2 satellites.[10] After the payload fairing was redesigned, excessive vibration also damaged the AsiaSat 2 satellite during launch. The Long March 2E was withdrawn from the geostationary launch market a year later.[11]

List of launches

Flight number Date (UTC) Launch site Payload Orbit Crew Result Remarks
1 19 November 1999
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 1 Low Earth orbit N/A Success First uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft
2 9 January 2001
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 2 Low Earth orbit N/A Success Second uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft, carried live animals.
3 25 March 2002
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 3 Low Earth orbit N/A Success Third uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft.
4 29 December 2002
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 4 Low Earth orbit N/A Success Final uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft prior to flying with crew.
5 15 October 2003
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 5 Low Earth orbit China Yang Liwei Success China's first crewed spaceflight.
6 12 October 2005
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 6 Low Earth orbit China Fei Junlong
China Nie Haisheng
Success Second crewed spaceflight, first with two astronauts.
7 25 September 2008
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 7 Low Earth orbit China Zhai Zhigang
China Liu Boming
China Jing Haipeng
Success First flight with three crew members, first to feature extravehicular activity.
8 29 September 2011
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Tiangong 1 Low Earth orbit N/A Success The first Chinese space station. Modified version Long March 2F/G with larger payload fairing.[8]
9 31 October 2011
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 8 Low Earth orbit N/A Success Uncrewed spaceflight to test automatic rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1
10 16 June 2012
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 9 Low Earth orbit China Jing Haipeng
China Liu Wang
China Liu Yang
Success Three crew members, to test rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1.
11 11 June 2013
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 10 Low Earth orbit China Nie Haisheng
China Zhang Xiaoguang
China Wang Yaping
Success Three crew members; rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1.
12 15 September 2016
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Tiangong 2 Low Earth orbit N/A Success Second Chinese space laboratory Tiangong-2, launched by 2F/G variant.
13 16 October 2016
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 11 Low Earth orbit China Jing Haipeng
China Chen Dong
Success Two crew members;[12] rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-2 for a 30-day mission.
14 4 September 2020
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Reusable Experimental Spacecraft[13] Low Earth orbit N/A Success Test flight of a reusable experimental spacecraft.[13][14]
15 2021 LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 12 Low Earth orbit China TBA
China TBA
China TBA
Planned Two to three crew members; planned to visit the Tianhe-1, the first module of the Chinese Space Station.[15]
16 2021-2022 LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 13 Low Earth orbit China TBA
China TBA
China TBA
Planned Two to three crew members; planned to visit the Tianhe-1, to continue construction of the space station.


  1. ^ a b c d e Mark Wade. "CZ-2F". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
  2. ^ "LM-2F - Launch Vehicle". CGWIC. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  3. ^ "CZ". Astronautix.com. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  4. ^ "China to launch Shenzhou 7 spacecraft on Thursday". news.xinhuanet.com. English Xinhua. 24 September 2008. Archived from the original on 5 July 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  5. ^ "China's Shenzhou 11 blasts off on space station mission". BBC. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Long March 2F - Summary". Spaceandtech.com. 20 November 1999. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  7. ^ [1] Archived May 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Jones, Morris (27 January 2016). "Last Launch for Long March 2F/G". Space Daily. Retrieved 7 April 2016. 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.
  9. ^ "CCTV International". cctv.com. 25 September 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  10. ^ 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)
  11. ^ "CZ-2E Space Launch Vehicle". GlobalSecurity.org.
  12. ^ Huang, Jin (8 March 2016). "Why will Shenzhou-11 carry only two astronauts to space?". People's Daily Online. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  13. ^ a b "我国成功发射可重复使用试验航天器" [My country successfully launched a reusable experimental spacecraft]. Xinhuanet. 4 September 2020.
  14. ^ https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=50274.msg2079224#new
  15. ^ https://spacenews.com/chinese-space-program-insights-emerge-from-national-peoples-congress/