This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at CZ-2 Spaceplane Launcher

Chinese Manned LVs
Chinese Manned LVs - Chinese Launch Vehicles for Manned Projects. From left: Tsien Spaceplane Launcher, 1978; Project 921 Launch Vehicle, 1992; CZ-2F, 1999; CZ-2E(A), 2000. Only the last two were put into full scale development.

Credit: © Mark Wade. 21,771 bytes. 360 x 480 pixels.

Family: Long March. Country: China. Status: Design.

Tsienís manned spacecraft design proposed in the late 1970ís was a winged spaceplane, launched by a CZ-2 core booster with two large strap-on boosters. It so strongly resembled the cancelled US Dynasoar of 15 years earlier that US intelligence analysts wondered if it wasnít based on declassified Dynasoar technical information. First public announcement of the manned program came in February, 1978. In January, 1980 the Chinese press reported a visit with the Chinese astronaut trainees at the Chinese manned spaceflight training centre. Photographs appeared of the astronauts at the controls of a space shuttle-like spaceplane cockpit. But then, suddenly, in December, 1980, Wang Zhuanshan, the Secretary General of the New China Space Research Society and Chief Engineer of the Space Centre of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, announced that Chinese manned flight was being postponed because of its cost. Fundamental economic development was given priority.

Masses, performance estimated based on two strap-on boosters identical to CZ-2 first stage on a CZ-2 core.


LEO Payload: 7,800 kg. to: 185 km Orbit. at: 28.0 degrees. Liftoff Thrust: 612,000 kgf. Total Mass: 500,000 kg. Core Diameter: 3.4 m. Total Length: 33.0 m.

CZ-2 Spaceplane Launcher Chronology

- 1978 February -
- 1980 January -


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .