Chang Zheng 11 – Space Launch Report

Chang Zheng 11 - Space Launch Report

On September 25, 2015, China launched its first Chang Zheng (CZ) 11 – a four-stage solid fuel rocket – from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. CZ-11 boosted at least four small satellites into near-polar low earth orbit.

CZ-11 launched at 01:41 UTC from a canister attached to a mobile transporter/erector in a manner similar to that used by Russia’s retired Start-1 launch vehicle, which was itself based on Russia’s Topol ICBM. The new launch vehicle was developed as a quick-reaction orbital launcher by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The rocket is reportedly 20.8 meters long (other reports suggest 18.7 meters), and 2 meters in diameter with a 58 tonne launch mass and a 120 tonne liftoff thrust. CZ-11 may be able to lift 700 kg to sun synchronous orbit.

CZ-11 Erected in Launch Canister at Jiquan

Chang Zheng 11 - Space Launch Report

The test flight boosted three small “Tianwang-1 satellites and a fourth named Pujian 1 into roughly 480 km orbits at inclinations of 94.2 to 97.3 deg. One object, possibly a fourth stage with a liquid propulsion was tracked in an elliptical transfer type orbit.

CZ-11 may be based on the DF-31 series solid fuel ballistic missile already in China’s inventory.  The canister used to launch CZ-11 was similar to launch canisters used by the road-mobile DF-31A. 

CZ-11 appears to differ substantially from another quick-response solid fuel orbital launch vehicle named “Kuaizhou” (“Quick Vessel”) that China began flying in 2013, also from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.  The first CZ-11 may, however, have been launched from a mobile pad at Jiuquan, the second of two built northeast of the CZ-2F launch site, that also hosted the second Kuazhou launch in 2014.

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Vehicle Configurations

(metric tons)
Earth Escape
(metric tons)
CZ-110.7 t (LEO/S) Three solid stages + liquid storable propellant fourth stage18.7 – 20.8 m58 t

Vehicle Components

 Stg 1Stg 2Stg 3Stg 4Payload
Diameter (m)2 m2m2.4 m1.4 m1.6 m
Length (m)~9 m (incl I/S)~3 m (incl I/S)~1 m~1 m~5.7 m
Propellant Mass (tonnes)     
Empty Mass (tonnes)     
Total Mass (tonnes)     
Engine Mfgr     
Oxidizer   Liquid 
(SL tons)
120 t    
(Vac tons)
ISP (SL sec)     
ISP (Vac sec)     
Burn Time (sec)     
No. Engines111  

Epsilon Launch Log

                        EPSILON ORBITAL SPACE LAUNCH LOG

DATE     VEHICLE           ID      PAYLOAD                 MASS(t) SITE*      ORBIT*
09/25/15 CZ-11             CZ11-01 Multisats                       JQ         LEO/S

 Site Code:

JQ = Jiuquan, China 

 Orbit Code:

EEO/M = Molynia (12-hr) Elliptical Earth Orbit
FTO = Failed to Orbit
FSO = Failed Suborbital
GTO = Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit
GTO+ = Supersynchronous or High Perigee Transfer Orbit
GTO- = Subsynchronous Transfer Orbit
GTOi = Inclined GTO
GEO = Geosynchronous Orbit
HCO = Heliocentric (solar) Orbit
HTO = High Earth Transfer Orbit
LEO = Low Earth Orbit
LEO/S = Sun Synchronous Low Earth Orbit
LEO/P = Polar Low Earth Orbit
MEO = Medium Earth Orbit
MTO = Medium Earth Transfer Orbit 
SUB = Suborbital

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