Long March 2 Chronology (Part 5): The remote cousin from Shanghai

The Chinese military began to develop a more advanced recoverable reconnaissance satellite FSW-2 (Jian Bing 1B) in the late 1980s. The new satellite had an increased mass of 2,600 kg, exceeding the maximal payload capacity of the Long March 2C.

CALT responded to the requirement by proposing a redesigned Long March 2C with increased payload capacity, but the proposal was rejected by the military due to the excessive development cost. As a result, the Ministry of Astronautics decided in 1990 to adopt the Long March 2D concept proposed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST, or 8th Academy) for the FSW-2 missions.

Featuring a payload capacity of 3,100 kg to LEO, the Long March 2D was derived from the three-stage Long March 4A, which was based on the same Dong Feng-5 ICBM design on which the 2C model was developed. Despite sharing the same basic design with the Long March 2C family, the Long March 4A was incorporated with features and technologies of the Hurricane 1 (Feng Bao-1) launch vehicle developed by SAST in the 1970s.

Long March 2D on Pad 138 at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre
Long March 2D in flight
Long March 2D launching Yaogan 4 from Jiuquan

The development of the Long March 2D began in February 1990 and took two years to complete. The first flight of the launch vehicle took place from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on 9 August 1992, successfully lofting FSW-2-01 into orbit.

Published by


Freelance reporter and writer. Chinese military and space programme observer. Editor and publisher of SinoDefence.com and ChinaSpaceReport.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.