Launch Schedule – China 2013

Here is the current calendar for 2013 for Chinese satellites and rocket launch vehicles as listed on the Forum at NASASpaceFlight on 18 December 2012:


  • Complete
  • Upcoming
  • February – CZ-4B – TSLC, LC9 – CBERS-3
  • Early – CZ-4C – TSLC, LC9 – ‘multiple satellites’
  • June – CZ-2F/G – JSLC, 921 – SZ-10 Shenzhou-10
  • June – CZ-3B/E – XSLC, LC2 – ZX-11 Zhongxing-11 (Chinasat-11) / Supremesat-II
  • July – CZ-4C – TSLC, LC9 – FY-3C Fengyun-3C; XW-2 Xiwang-2
  • December 20 – CZ-3B/E – XSLC, LC2 – Túpac Katari ‘TKSat-1’ (Bolivia)
  • Second quarter – CZ-3B/E – XSLC, LC2 – ZX-M Zhongxing-M (Chinasat-M)
  • ?? – CZ-2D – JSLC, 631 – Shiyan Weixing-5; Chuangxin-4
  • ?? – CZ-2D – JSLC, 631 – GF-1 Gaofen-1
  • ?? – CZ-2D – JSLC, 631 – SJ-11 Shijian 11-05
  • ?? – CZ-2D – JSLC, 631 – TH-2 Tianhui-2
  • ?? – (New Launcher) – JSLC – ??
  • ?? – CZ-3B/GIII – XSLC, LC2 – Chang’e-3 (Moon lander/rover)
  • ?? – CZ-4B – TSLC, LC9 – SJ-13 Shijian-13A; Shijian-13B
  • ?? – CZ-4B – TSLC, LC9 – HY-2B Haiyang-2B (or 2014)
  • ?? – ?? – ?? – YG-17 YaoGan Weixing-17
  • ?? – ?? – ?? – YG-18 YaoGan Weixing-18
  • ?? – ?? – ?? – YG-19 YaoGan Weixing-19


  • June – CZ-2C/CTS-2 – XSLC – Barcelona Moon Team
  • August – ?? – TSLC – CBERS-4 (or June)
  • October / December – CZ-3B/E – XSLC – TurkmenistanSat/MonacoSat
  • December – CZ-4B – TSLC – FY-3D Fengyun-3D (Batch 2)
  • End – CZ-5 – WSLC – ??

Updated 1 January 2013

2012 Launches
2011 Launches


Chinese Chang’E 2 Spacecraft Captures Toutatis

Chang’E 2 Images of Asteroid Toutatis on 13 December 2012
Image Credit:

Emily Lakdawalla, at the Planetary Society, published these stunning images of the asteroid Toutatis (captured by The Chinese spacecraft Chang’E 2) as it tumbled past the Earth on 12 and 13 December 2012.

Chang’E 2 was originally launched on 1 October 2010, and mapped the Moon during an eight month mission. China published these high resolution images of the Moon earlier this year. Now, Chang’E 2 has become the first spacecraft to reach the Sun-Earth Lagrange point (SEL-2) from lunar orbit. It departed lunar orbit in June of 2011.

The world was caught completely off-guard by this low profile fly-by of the asteroid Toutatis. At closest approach, Chang’E 2 was 3.2 kilometers above the surface of the asteroid. The images were taken from a distance of 93 and 240 kilometers. China becomes the fourth country to observe an asteroid, after US, the European Union and Japan.

In January, Chang’E 2 will reach a distance of 10 million kilometers from Earth.

Additional details have been published by Xinhua on their website, and at

In August, Bill Gray at the Planetary Society, published an update on the Chnag’E 2 mission.

Paolo, a member of the forum, reported in October concerning a paper he had obtained from the IAF Congress entitled “Low energy trajectory optimization for CE-2’s extended mission after 2012“. He did share these items from the paper:

  • 13 December 2012 is confirmed as the date. no distance nor relative speed or other details are given
  • we are told that the Beijing Aerospace Control Center called for proposals on a mission beyond L2 in January 2012
  • there were lots of interesting proposals including one that would flyby Earth and Moon repeatedly, visit the L1 and L2 Lagrangian points, flyby a hundred-meter sized asteroid and finally explore the L4 Sun-Earth point in 2017 (the paper states that CE-2 would have been the first mission to do so. I think one of the two Stereos was first)
  • in March 2012 the Toutatis flyby, proposed by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology was selected
  • in a non-optimized form, the mission would have cost 107.5 m/s of the remaining 120 m/s delta-v budget
  • a 6.2 m/s correction on 15 April “was mainly used to keep the Lissajous trajectory”. it was previously reported as the date CE-2 was maneuvered out of the L2 halo orbit
  • trajectory optimization was only carried out starting on 16 April. After optimization, an additional 22 m/s delta-v was gained that could be used to ensure a successful flyby
  • the first targeting maneuver was carried out on 31 May (32.9 m/s)
  • the second targeting maneuver (46.5 m/s) was to be carried out on 24 September

Sky and Telescope has also weighed in with unique information on the fly-by. The passage was so close that the deflection in the trajectory of the spacecraft could be used to determine the gravitational mass of Toutatis, which in turn would yield the overall density, a key to understanding its bulk composition and internal makeup.

edited: 5 PM 16 December 2012

Shenzhou-9 Returns with Chinese Taikonauts

Liu Yang
Liu Yang Emerges from the Shenzhou-9 Descent Module
Image Credit: CCTV

Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang, the three member crew of China’s Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, returned to Earth, following a successful and historic mission with the unmanned space module Tiangong-1. The Descent Module touched down around 7:00 PM Phoenix time Thursday (0200 UTC Friday) at the landing site in Inner Mongolia.

Three Taikonauts
Three Taikonauts Seated Outside the Shenzhou-9 Descent Module
Image Credit: CCTV

Chinese Crew Conducts Manual Docking With Tiangong-1

Manual Dock
Beginning of Manual Docking of Shenzhou-9 with Tiangong-1
Image Credit: CCTV

Chinese taikonauts completed another objective of their current mission aboard their spacecraft, Shenzhou-9, when they completed a manual docking maneuver with the orbital module Tiangong-1 around 0450 UTC Sunday (9:50 PM Saturday night Phoenix time).

Several hours prior to this, the crew set Tiangong-1 for independent flight in case an emergency was encountered. Then commander Jing Haipeng and the other two crew, Liu Wang and Liu Yang, entered the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, donned their flight suits and performed an automated undocking.

This was followed by backing away to 400 meters. The crew then closed to 140 meters and the two vehicles maintained their positions while the ground control evaluated the data. Approval was given for the manual approach controlled by Liu Wang. The spacecraft approached to within 30 meters for a short hold.

Finally closing at 0.4 meters per second, Shenzhou-9 completed the docking procedure.

With this objective completed, the taikonauts will continue their testing of the orbital module, and medical and physiological tests and exercises.

They are scheduled to return to Earth on Friday, 29 June.

Manual Dock
Final Moment Before the Manual Docking of Shenzhou-9 with Tiangong-1
Image Credit: CCTV

Chinese Crew Enters Tiangong-1 Space Station

Three Chinese Crew Members Occupy The Tiangong Space Orbiter
Image Credit: CCTV

Three hours after automatically docking with the Tiangong-1 space orbiter, Jing Haipeng opened the hatch between the Shenzhou space craft and the orbiter and floated aboard. The mission commander was followed by Liu Wang and Liu Yang.

The Tiangong-1 has been in orbit for 262 days following its launch on 29 September 2011. It was previously visited by the Shenzhou-8 unmanned mission, which was launched on 31 October 2011, docked on 3 November and returned on 19 November.

Tiangong-1 is a test bed for a future space station scheduled for 2020. The module weighs 8.5 metric tons (19,000 pounds) with an interior of 15 cubic meters (540 cubic feet). The module is 3.35 meters in diameter, and 10.4 meters in length.

The crew is scheduled to conduct medical experiments, and to perform a manual docking on 24 June.

Shenzhou-9 Carries Female Taikonaut to Orbit

Liu Yang
Liu Yang Prior to Launch Aboard the Shenzhou 9 Space Craft
Image Credit: AFP/ STR

Liu Yang, China’s first female taikonaut, was launched aboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft on top of a Long March 2F rocket. Jing Haipeng, a veteran of two other spaceflights, will command the mission, and Liu Wang the third member of the crew is making his inaugural flight. Liftoff from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Saturday in the Gobi Desert occurred Saturday morning at 3:37 Phoenix time (10:37 UTC).

The planned rendezvous with the Tiangong-1 mini-spacelab, which is already in orbit, is scheduled for 18 June. The crew will conduct one automated docking and then a manual docking. Once the docking is complete, two of the crew will work in the space station, while the third member remains on the Shenzhou-9 space craft to handle any emergency that might arise.

The expectation is that the mission will last around 20 days, after which the craft will undock and return to Earth.

Long March 2F
Long March 2F Carrying the Shenzhou-9 Space Craft into Orbit
Image Credit: China Daily

ZiYuan III Satellite Launch by China

LongMarch 4B
ZiYuan III Launch aboard the Chinese Long March 4B
Image Credit: Xinhua

China launched its first satellite of the year on 9 January at 0317 UTC. The satellite was placed in orbit by a Long March 4B (Chang Zheng-4B -Y26) rocket, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China.

The ZiYuan-3 (ZY-3) satellite is a high-resolution geological mapping satellite. Instruments include an infrared multispectral scanner (IRMSS), and three high resolution panchromatic cameras. Monitoring will include land resources and water conservation. Other tasks include urban planning, support of farming programs and reduction in the impact of natural disasters.

The satellite will orbit in a 505.984 km sun-synchronous solar orbit with 97.421 degree inclination. This orbit will have a re-visit cycle of 5 days. Surveys will run from 84 degrees north and 84 degrees south latitude.