Long March 3 Chronology (Part 3): The heavy-lifters

The Long March 3B is the second variant of the Long March 3A family, designed to deliver a single heavy communications satellite or multiple satellites to GTO. With four strap-on liquid boosters, the launch vehicle’s payload capacity was increased to 5,200 kg (5,500 kg on later variants) to GTO, making it (at the time of its introduction) the most powerful space launch vehicle in China, and the second most capable in the world, only after the Russian Proton.

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Long March 3 Chronology (Part 2): Aiming for the commercial market

CALT introduced the Long March 3A in the early 1990s as a successor to the Long March 3. With an increased payload capacity of 2,600 kg to GTO, the 3A model was positioned as a contender for the international commercial launch market against foreign designs. By adopting a modular design approach, the launch vehicle would also be developed into different configurations to meet different mission requirements.

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Long March 3 Chronology (Part 1): Project 331

The Long March 3 (Chang Zheng-3, or CZ-3) is a family of orbital launch vehicles designed for launching geostationary communications satellites and deep-space probes. First introduced in 1984, the three-stage launch vehicle was designed to send the payload into a highly elliptical Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), where the satellite then uses its own apogee kick stage to move to its intended location on Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).

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