Encyclopedia Astronautica
Jiuquan SLS


CZ launch complex. New launch complex for the CZ-2F manned spacecraft launcher. Vehicle processed at nearby Vertical Assembly Facility.

Longitude: 100.2915 deg.
Latitude: 40.9580 deg.
First Launch: 1999.11.19.
Last Launch: 2005.10.12.
Number: 8 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Spacecraft
  • Tiangong Chinese man-tended space laboratory. Operational, first launch planned September 2011. A series of three of these laboratories will be visited by a series of Shenzhou manned spacecraft between 2011 and 2018. The 8.5-ton design will then be extended to a 13-ton cargo carrier for resupply of the Chinese multi-module space station after 2020. More...
  • FSW Chinese military surveillance satellite. 24 launches, 1974.11.05 (FSW-0) to 2006.09.09 (SJ-8). More...
  • Shenzhou Chinese manned spacecraft. Operational, first launch 1999.11.19. The Chinese Shenzhou manned spacecraft resembled the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, but was of larger size and all-new construction. More...
  • Shenzhou OM Chinese manned spacecraft module. Operational, first launch 1999.11.19. The orbital module provided quarters for the crew during the space mission, and could be fitted out with different internal and external equipment according to mission requirements. More...
  • Ban Xing Chinese technology satellite. One launch, 2008.09.25, BX-1. BanXing (companion satellite) subsatellite released by Shenzhou. If maneuvered away and back to the Shenzhou orbital module after the mission. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • CZ-2C Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The CZ-2C was the definitive low earth orbit launch vehicle derived from DF-5 ICBM. It became the basis for an entire family of subsequent Long March vehicles. Many adaptive modifications were made to the configuration of the CZ-2A to handle a variety of new satellites and upper stages. The CZ-2C had improved technical performance and payload capacity compared to the CZ-2A, with later versions having a payload capability of 2,800 kg into a 200 km circular orbit. More...
  • CZ-2D Chinese orbital launch vehicle. The Long March 2D was a two-stage launch vehicle with storable propellants, suitable for launching a variety of low earth orbit satellites. Developed and manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, the CZ-2D had a typical payload capability of 3,500kg in a 200 km circular orbit. Its first stage was identical to that of the CZ-4. The second stage was essentially the same as that of the CZ-4, except for an improved vehicle equipment bay. More...
  • CZ-2F Chinese orbital launch vehicle. Man-rated version of CZ-2E, designed for launch of the Shenzhou spacecraft. Little difference externally. Modifications were related to improved redundancy of systems, strengthened upper stage to handle large 921-1 spacecraft fairing and launch escape tower. President Jiang Zemin gave the name 'Shenjian' ('Divine Arrow') to the CZ-2F after the successful launch of the Shenzhou-3 mission. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Jiuquan China's first launch center, also known as Shuang Cheng Tzu. Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, situated at 100 degrees East, 41 degrees North, is located in the Jiuquan Region, Gansu province, north-western China. It was China's first ballistic missile and satellite launch centre. More...

Jiuquan SLS Chronology


1999 November 19 - . 22:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2F. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 2F CZ2F-1 (59).
  • Shenzhou - . Mass: 7,600 kg (16,700 lb). Nation: China. Agency: CASC. Manufacturer: CALT. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Shenzhou. Duration: 0.88 days. Decay Date: 1999-11-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 25956 . COSPAR: 1999-061A. Apogee: 315 km (195 mi). Perigee: 195 km (121 mi). Inclination: 42.6000 deg. Period: 89.60 min. The unmanned first test flight of a prototype of the Chinese Project 921-1 spacecraft took place 49 days after the planned date of October 1, 1999. Shenzhou separated from its launch vehicle and went into orbit about ten minutes after lift-off. The spacecraft was controlled from the new Beijing Aerospace Directing and Controlling Centre. The spacecraft did not manoeuvre during the flight. The first attempt to return the spacecraft to earth came on orbitt 12, but the retrofire command would not be accepted by the spacecraft's computer. A retry on the next orbit also failed.

    The Yuanwang-3 tracking ship off the coast of Namibia picked up the spacecraft's signal at 18:49 UT, and commanded retro-fire. This time the spacecraft accepted the command, which probably saved the entire program. The spacecraft passed out of range of the tracking ship nine minutes later. Its trajectory arced over Africa, skimmed the coast of the Arabian peninsula, and then over Pakistan, before re-entering over Tibet.

    Following re-entry, the drogue chute deployed at an altitude of 30 km with the capsules soft-landing rockets firing 1.5 m above the ground. The capsule landed at 41 deg N, 105 deg E, (415 km East of its launch pad and 110 km north-west of Wuhai, Inner Mongolia), at November 20 19:41 UT. The spacecraft had completed 14 orbits of the earth in 21 hours and 11 minutes.

    After the flight it was reported that not a single primary spacecraft system had failed, so none of the back-up systems were tested. The touchdown point was only 12 km from the predicted position. The soft landing braking rocket worked well - no damage was found to the capsule structure, heat shield or the seals. The jettisoned heat shield, parachute hatch, and drogue chute were found within 5 km of the landing point. The orbital module, which separated prior to retro-fire, continued in controlled flight until 27 November, when it decayed and reentered the atmosphere. A primary payload returned by Shenzhou were 100 kg of seeds, considered valuable to the Chinese after one day of exposure to the space environment. The Chinese space tracking fleet returned from the Shenzhou mission between 12 December 1999 and 4 January 2000. During their 259-day voyage, the four ships traveled 185,000 km and experienced some heavy seas while tracking and communicating with the Shenzhou for a total of 150 minutes. Additional Details: here....


2001 January 9 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2F. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 2F CZ2F-2 (65).
  • Shenzhou 2 - . Mass: 7,400 kg (16,300 lb). Nation: China. Agency: CASC. Manufacturer: CALT. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Shenzhou. Duration: 6.77 days. Decay Date: 2001-01-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 26664 . COSPAR: 2001-001A. Apogee: 345 km (214 mi). Perigee: 330 km (200 mi). Inclination: 42.6000 deg. Period: 91.30 min. The second unmanned test flight of the Shenzhou manned spacecraft design carried a monkey, a dog and a rabbit in a test of the spaceship's life support systems. Shenzhou 2 was the first test of an all-up flight model of the spacecraft, with a functioning orbital module. It was also the most ambitious space science laboratory ever launched by China. It carried 64 scientific payloads: 15 in the re-entry module, 12 in the orbital module and 37 on the forward external pallet. These included a micro-gravity crystal growing device; life sciences experiments with 19 species of animals and plants, cosmic ray and particle detectors; and China's first gamma ray burst detectors.

    The launch was originally scheduled for January 5, but the second stage of the launch vehicle was dented by an access platform while being prepared for roll-out in the vehicle assembly building. This caused several days of delay until it was cleared for flight. Shenzhou 2 made three orbit-raising manoeuvres during its flight, reaching a 330 x 345 km orbit by the end of the initial phase of the mission. Ninety minutes before landing the orbital module depressurised, and the spacecraft went briefly out of control. However this was regained after venting of the atmosphere from the module ended. The descent module and service modules separated from the forward orbital module and external pallet normally. After retrofire by the service module, it separated and the descent module landed at 11:22 GMT on January 16 in Inner Mongolia. Lack of post-recovery photographs led to speculation that the recovery may not have been completely successful. The Shenzhou orbital module had its own solar panels and remained operational in orbit, conducting scientific experiments. It was actively controlled for six months, maneuvering in orbit several times (reaching a final orbit of 394 x 405 km). It then was allowed to decay and reentered the atmosphere at 09:05 GMT on August 24, 2001. The reentry point was near 33.1 deg S in latitude and 260.4 deg E in longitude, over the western Pacific Ocean between Easter Island and Chile.


2002 March 25 - . 14:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2F. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 2F CZ2F-3 (66).
  • Shenzhou 3 - . Mass: 7,800 kg (17,100 lb). Nation: China. Agency: CAS. Manufacturer: CALT. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Shenzhou. Duration: 6.78 days. Decay Date: 2002-04-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 27397 . COSPAR: 2002-014A. Apogee: 379 km (235 mi). Perigee: 374 km (232 mi). Inclination: 42.4000 deg. Period: 92.10 min. The third unmanned test of the Shenzhou spacecraft was delayed almost three months when a defective connector was found on the booster after roll-out to the pad in January 2002. The vehicle was disassembled, and all suspect connectors were replaced. The stand-down also revealed ten previously undetected defects in the space capsule. The spacecraft, the first all-up flight model with a functioning (but deactivated) launch escape system, was finally launched and placed into an initial 197 x 326 km x 42.4 deg orbit at 1425 UTC. At about 2120 UTC Shenzhou used its own engine to raise its orbit to 332 x 337 km. The capsule included a dummy astronaut instrumented to monitor life support systems. The descent module returned to Earth on April 1 at 0851 UTC, landing in Inner Mongolia. The orbital module remained in orbit to carry out further experiments, finally being deorbited on 12 November 2002. The spacecraft carried 44 scientific payloads, including a medium-resolution imaging radiometer developed by Chinese Academy of Sciences, installed on the instrument pallet atop the orbital module.

2002 December 29 - . 16:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2F. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 2F CZ2F-4 (69).
  • Shenzhou 4 - . Mass: 7,794 kg (17,182 lb). Nation: China. Agency: CAS. Manufacturer: CALT. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft: Shenzhou. Duration: 6.77 days. Decay Date: 2003-01-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 27630 . COSPAR: 2002-061A. Apogee: 337 km (209 mi). Perigee: 331 km (205 mi). Inclination: 42.4000 deg. Period: 91.20 min. Final unmanned test of the Shenzhou spacecraft. First night launch of the CZ-2F was viewed by Party leaders on a very cold but clear night. The spacecraft carried fifty-two science payloads in four main areas: microwave Earth observation, space environment monitoring, microgravity fluid physics, and biological technology research. The spacecraft's reentry capsule was successfully recovered on 5 January 2003 at 1116 UT. The Chinese released the news and photographs of the capsule in the dusk snow only an hour later. The landing site was 40 km from Hohhot (40.51deg N, 111.38 deg E). As in prior missions, the orbital module continued in orbit. Chinese astronauts trained on the actual flight hardware before the launch and it was officially announced that this successful mission set the stage for a first Chinese manned spaceflight in the second half of 2003. Western observors noted that the orbit and ground track allowed launch of a second rendezvous vehicle, an indication of future manned space station missions. Shenzhou 4 carried 52 scientific payloads including a microwave radiometer using a reflector antenna, installed on top of the orbital module.

2003 October 15 - . 01:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2F.
  • Shenzhou 5 Orbital Module - . Mass: 1,100 kg (2,400 lb). Nation: China. Agency: SISE. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Shenzhou OM. Decay Date: 2004-05-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 28049 . COSPAR: 2003-045G. Apogee: 347 km (215 mi). Perigee: 338 km (210 mi). Inclination: 42.4000 deg. Period: 91.40 min. The Shenzhou 5 orbital module was essential an unmanned military reconnaisance satellite. It was never entered by the astronaut during the mission, and was equipped with two high resolution (1.6 m) surveillance cameras. It was expected to operate until at least spring 2004.
  • Shenzhou 5 - . Crew: Yang Liwei. Backup Crew: Zhai Zhigang. Support Crew: Nie Haisheng. Mass: 7,840 kg (17,280 lb). Nation: China. Related Persons: Yang Liwei; Zhai Zhigang; Nie Haisheng. Agency: PLAAF. Manufacturer: CALT. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Shenzhou 5. Spacecraft: Shenzhou. Duration: 0.89 days. Decay Date: 2003-10-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 28043 . COSPAR: 2003-045A. Apogee: 336 km (208 mi). Perigee: 332 km (206 mi). Inclination: 42.4192 deg. Period: 91.20 min. China's first manned spaceflight began with the lift-off of the CZ-2F booster into the clear blue morning sky. All went according to plan and China's first man in space, Yang Liwei, entered an initial 200 km x 343 km orbit ten minutes after launch. The naval vessels standing buy for rescue in the Sea of Japan were called back to port.

    The highly conservative mission plan was for Yang to remain in the Shenzhou re-entry capsule for the entire 21-hour mission, and not to enter the orbital module. He had two rest periods of three hours each, and was scheduled to eat once or twice meals of what was said to be a superior form of Chinese space food. Frequent communications sessions, including colour television links to the spacecraft, were made possible by China's four tracking ships deployed in the oceans of the world.

    As the spacecraft was in its 21st orbit, the orbital module separated. It would stay in the 343 km orbit for a planned six-month military imaging reconnaissance mission. Retrofire was commanded via a tracking ship in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Shenzhou-5 landed only 4.8 km from the aim-point in Inner Mongolia with the parachute being sighted by the ground recovery forces prior to landing. Yang landed after 21 hours 23 minutes aloft.


2004 August 29 - . 07:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2C. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 2C CZ2C-25 (78).
  • FSW-3 No. 2 - . Payload: FSW-19. Mass: 2,100 kg (4,600 lb). Nation: China. Agency: SISE. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: FSW. Duration: 26.67 days. Decay Date: 2004-11-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 28402 . COSPAR: 2004-033A. Apogee: 547 km (339 mi). Perigee: 168 km (104 mi). Inclination: 63.0000 deg. Period: 91.70 min. Recoverable satellite officially stated to be conducting space scientific research, land surveying, mapping and other scientific experiments. Said to have improved experimental technology, with higher orientation precision and more complex on-board computers and software. Controlled from the Xian Satellite Monitoring and Control Centre. Successfully re-entered and recovered after 27 days in space at 23:55 GMT on 24 September.

2004 September 27 - . 08:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2D. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 2D CZ2D-5 (80).
  • FSW-3 No. 3 - . Payload: FSW 20. Nation: China. Agency: SISE. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: FSW. Duration: 17.78 days. Decay Date: 2004-11-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 28424 . COSPAR: 2004-039A. Apogee: 297 km (184 mi). Perigee: 205 km (127 mi). Inclination: 63.0000 deg. Summary: Recoverable military satellite. Returned to Earth at 02:48 GMT on October 15, falling through the roof of a house in the village of Penglai, Sichuan province..

2005 October 12 - . 01:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2F. LV Configuration: Chang Zheng 2F CZ2F-6 (88).
  • Shenzhou 6 - . Crew: Fei Junlong; Nie Haisheng. Backup Crew: Liu Buoming; Jing Haipen. Return Crew: Zhai Zhigang; Wu Jie. Mass: 8,040 kg (17,720 lb). Nation: China. Related Persons: Fei Junlong; Nie Haisheng; Liu Buoming; Jing Haipen; Zhai Zhigang; Wu Jie. Agency: SISE. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Shenzhou 6. Spacecraft: Shenzhou. Duration: 4.81 days. Decay Date: 2005-10-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 28879 . COSPAR: 2005-040A. Apogee: 338 km (210 mi). Perigee: 331 km (205 mi). Inclination: 42.4000 deg. Period: 91.20 min. Moved up from October 13. Second Chinese manned space mission. The two-astronaut crew spent 5 days in space, and worked in the Shenzhou orbital module for the first time. Aside from biomedical experiments, the nature of their work was not divulged, and few images of the interior of the orbital module (with its probable military experiments) were released.

2008 September 25 - . 13:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Jiuquan. Launch Complex: Jiuquan SLS. LV Family: CZ. Launch Vehicle: CZ-2F. LV Configuration: CZ-2F s/n CZ2F7.
  • Shenzhou 7 - . Crew: Zhai Zhigang; Liu Buoming; Jing Haipen. Mass: 7,840 kg (17,280 lb). Nation: China. Related Persons: Zhai Zhigang; Liu Buoming; Jing Haipen. Agency: SISE. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Shenzhou 7. Spacecraft: Shenzhou. Duration: 2.85 days. Decay Date: 2008-09-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 33386 . COSPAR: 2008-047A. Apogee: 336 km (208 mi). Perigee: 329 km (204 mi). Inclination: 42.4000 deg. Period: 91.20 min. Third Chinese manned space mission. The crew consisted of Zhai Zhigang, backup astronaut for China's first manned space mission; and Liu Buoming and Jing Haipeng, backups for the second mission. The astronauts demonstrated the capability of the Shenzhou spacecraft to carry its full complement of three crew for the first time. Zhai, wearing a Chinese-developed Feitian space suit, emerged from the orbital module of the Shenzhou and became China's first astronaut to conduct a spacewalk. Liu, wearing a proven Russian Orlan spacesuit, remained in the depressurized orbital module, ready to assist Zhai in an emergency. A subsatellite, weighing 40 kg, was released after the EVA, and relayed back images of Shenzhou 7 from close range to a distance of several kilometers. The crew returned safely to earth in a pinpoint landing in Outer Mongolia, carried live on television. The orbital module remained in space, conducting space network experiments with the subsatellite.
  • BX-1 - . Mass: 40 kg (88 lb). Nation: China. Agency: SISE. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Flight: Shenzhou 7. Spacecraft: Ban Xing. Decay Date: 2009-10-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 33392 . COSPAR: 2008-047G. Apogee: 331 km (205 mi). Perigee: 321 km (199 mi). Inclination: 42.4000 deg. Period: 91.00 min. Summary: BanXing (companion satellite) subsatellite released by Shenzhou 7. If maneuvered away and back to the Shenzhou orbital module after the mission..

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