Source: Reuters

10-21-2007 10:58

Official released for celebrating the 100th successfully launching of Long March space launch vehicle.(File photo)

The ChangZheng 3A (CZ-3A, or Long March-3A) is an improved variant of the three-stage CZ-3 launch vehicle. By incorporating the mature technologies of the CZ-3 and adding a more powerful cryogenic third stage and more capable control system, the CZ-3A has a greater geosynchronous transfer orbit capability, greater flexibility for altitude control, and better adaptability to a variety of launch missions. The CZ-3A was designed primarily for Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) missions, but it could also be used for Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) and Low-Earth orbit (LEO) missions.

The CZ-3A has so far carried out 11 GTO flight missions from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre since February 1994, with a successful rate of 1005, though the payload of the second mission malfunctioned and could not reach its intended orbit. The CZ-3A has replaced the CZ-3 for China’s commercial GTO launch services, and two new models CZ-3B and CZ-3C, both of which were based on the CZ-3A’s design, have also been offered to international customers.

The launch vehicle can carry one of more satellites in one flight mission. The LEO payload capacity of the CZ-3A is 6.5 tonnes (compared to 5.5 tonnes for the CZ-3) and the GTO payload capacity is 2.6 tonnes (compared to 1.5 tonnes for the CZ-3).