Long March 2F
The Long March 2F rocket with Shenzhou 13 spacecraft mounted on the top.
FunctionCrew-rated orbital launch vehicle
ManufacturerChina Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT)
Country of originChina
Height62 m (203 ft) [1]
Diameter3.35 m (11.0 ft) [1]
Mass464,000 kg (1,023,000 lb) [1]
Payload to LEO
Mass8,400 kg (18,500 lb) [1]
Associated rockets
FamilyLong March 2
Launch history
Launch sitesJiuquan Satellite Launch Center, SLS
Total launches17
First flight19 November 1999
Last flight5 June 2022
People or cargo transportedShenzhou
Chinese reusable experimental spacecraft
No. boosters4
Height15.3 m (50 ft)
Diameter2.3 m (7 ft 7 in)
Empty mass3,200 kg (7,100 lb)
Gross mass41,000 kg (90,000 lb)
Powered by1 YF-20B per booster
Maximum thrust814 kN (183,000 lbf)
Total thrust3,256 kN (732,000 lbf)
Specific impulse291 s (2.85 km/s)
Burn time128 seconds
PropellantN2O4 / UDMH
First stage
Height23.7 m (78 ft)
Diameter3.4 m (11 ft)
Empty mass9,500 kg (20,900 lb)
Gross mass196,500 kg (433,200 lb)
Powered by4 YF-20B
Maximum thrust3,256 kN (732,000 lbf)
Specific impulse291 s (2.85 km/s)
Burn time166 seconds
PropellantN2O4 / UDMH
Second stage
Height13.5 m (44 ft)
Diameter3.4 m (11 ft)
Empty mass5,500 kg (12,100 lb)
Gross mass91,500 kg (201,700 lb)
Powered by1 YF-24B
Maximum thrust831 kN (187,000 lbf)
Specific impulse289 s (2.83 km/s)
Burn time300 seconds
PropellantN2O4 / UDMH
Original version of the Long March 2F rocket
Original version of the Long March 2F rocket

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, "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 29 December 2002, a Long March 2F launched Shenzhou 4 for a final uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft for the upcoming flight of the first crewed mission. Until then, all missions were uncrewed.

On 15 October 2003, a Long March 2F launched Shenzhou 5, China's maiden crewed mission and achieved its first human spaceflight. Since then, the rocket has launched twelve more missions into orbit with the latest being Shenzhou 14.[4][5][6]

Differences from the Long March 2E

The Long March 2F rocket, inscribed with "Divine Arrow" (神箭) in Chinese
The Long March 2F rocket, inscribed with "Divine Arrow" (神箭) in Chinese

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.[7]

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.[8]

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 supports a larger fairing to accommodate the bulkier payloads.[9]

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%".[10] During the launch preparations for the Shenzhou 14 mission chief designer Gao Xu said incremental improvements made to the rocket's design mean vibrations felt by the taikonauts would be similar to that felt in a car driven on a highway.[11]

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.[12] After the payload fairing was redesigned, excessive vibration also damaged the AsiaSat 2 satellite during launch. After its successful launch of the Echostar 1 satellite on 28 December 1995 the rocket was officially retired from service.[13]

List of launches

Main article: List of Long March launches

Flight number Serial number Date (UTC) Launch site Payload Orbit Crew Result Remarks
1 Y1 19 November 1999
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 1 LEO N/A Success First uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft
2 Y2 9 January 2001
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 2 LEO N/A Success Second uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft, carried live animals.
3 Y3 25 March 2002
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 3 LEO N/A Success Third uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft.
4 Y4 29 December 2002
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 4 LEO N/A Success Final uncrewed test of the Shenzhou spacecraft prior to flying with crew.
5 Y5 15 October 2003
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 5 LEO China Yang Liwei Success China's first crewed spaceflight.
6 Y6 12 October 2005
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 6 LEO China Fei Junlong
China Nie Haisheng
Success Second crewed spaceflight, first with two astronauts.
7 Y7 25 September 2008
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 7 LEO China Zhai Zhigang
China Liu Boming
China Jing Haipeng
Success First flight with three crew members, first to feature extravehicular activity.
8 T1 29 September 2011
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Tiangong 1 LEO N/A Success The first Chinese space station. Modified version Long March 2F/G with larger payload fairing.[9]
9 Y8 31 October 2011
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 8 LEO N/A Success Uncrewed spaceflight to test automatic rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1
10 Y9 16 June 2012
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 9 LEO China Jing Haipeng
China Liu Wang
China Liu Yang
Success Three crew members, to test rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1.
11 Y10 11 June 2013
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 10 LEO China Nie Haisheng
China Zhang Xiaoguang
China Wang Yaping
Success Three crew members; rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-1.
12 T2 15 September 2016
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Tiangong 2 LEO N/A Success Second Chinese space laboratory Tiangong-2, launched by 2F/G variant.
13 Y11 16 October 2016
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 11 LEO China Jing Haipeng
China Chen Dong
Success Two crew members;[14] rendezvous and docking with Tiangong-2 for a 30-day mission.
14 T3 4 September 2020
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Reusable Experimental Spacecraft[15] LEO N/A Success Test flight of a reusable experimental spacecraft.[15][16]
15 Y12 17 June 2021
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 12 LEO China Nie Haisheng
China Liu Boming
China Tang Hongbo
Success Three crew members; first visit Tianhe, the first module of the Chinese Space Station, for a three-month mission.
16 Y13 15 October 2021
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 13 LEO China Zhai Zhigang
China Wang Yaping
China Ye Guangfu
Success Three crew members; planned to visit Tianhe, to continue construction of the space station, for a six-month mission.[17]
17 Y14 5 June 2022
LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 14 LEO China Chen Dong
China Liu Yang
China Cai Xuzhe
Success Three crew members; rendezvous and docking with the Chinese space station for a six-month mission.[18]
18 Y15 December 2022 LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 15 LEO China TBA
China TBA
China TBA
Planned Three crew members; rendezvous and docking with the Chinese space station for a six-month mission.[19]
19 Y16 June 2023 LA-4/SLS-1, JSLC Shenzhou 16 LEO China TBA
China TBA
China TBA
Planned Three crew members; rendezvous and docking with the Chinese space station for a six-month mission.


  1. ^ a b c d e Mark Wade. "CZ-2F". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 17 March 2002. 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 launches 3 astronauts to oversee construction of new Tiangong space station". Space.com. 5 June 2022. Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  5. ^ "Shenzhou 13 astronauts begin China's longest mission ever at space station module (video)". Space.com. 17 October 2021. Retrieved 6 November 2021.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Long March 2F - Summary". spaceandtech.com. 20 November 1999. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  8. ^ www.sinodefence.com https://web.archive.org/web/20080523092038/http://www.sinodefence.com/strategic/launchvehicle/cz2f.asp. Archived from the original on 23 May 2008. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "New mission for CZ-2F rocket". China Central Television. 25 September 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Improvements make Shenzhou-14 spaceship safer and more comfortable". 5 June 2022.
  12. ^ Zinger, Kurtis J. (2014). "An Overreaction that Destroyed an Industry: The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Satellite Export Controls" (PDF). ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ Harvey, Brian (2013). CZ-2E Space Launch Vehicle. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5043-6. ISBN 978-1-4614-5042-9.
  14. ^ Huang, Jin (8 March 2016). "Why will Shenzhou-11 carry only two astronauts to space?". People's Daily Online. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "Experimental spaceplane - CZ-2F - Jiuquan LC43/91 - Sept. 4 2020 (~07:30 UTC)".
  17. ^ Davenport, Justin (15 October 2021). "Shenzhou 13 launch first long-duration Chinese Space Station crew". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  18. ^ "长征二号F • 神舟十四号载人飞船(2022年待定)" [Long March 2F • Shenzhou-14 (2022 TBD)]. spaceflightfans.cn (in Chinese). 21 April 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  19. ^ "长征二号F • 神舟十五号载人飞船(2022年待定)" [Long March 2F • Shenzhou-15 (2022 TBD)]. spaceflightfans.cn (in Chinese). 21 April 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.