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SHENZHOU-13 LAUNCH, Oct 15, 2021, China, 12:23 pm ET

Update, October 14, 2021:  China officially confirms the launch is October 16 at 12:23 am Beijing Time (October 15, 12:23 pm EDT) and the crew:

  • Zhai Zhigang (second flight)
  • Wang Yaping (second flight)
  • Ye Guangfu (first flight)

It’s a 6 month mission with 2-3 spacewalks.


Update, October 12, 2021:  Bob Christy of Zarya.info has calculated that although the NOTAM begins at 1613 UTC, the LAUNCH time is 10 minutes later at 1623 UTC (12:23 pm EDT).

Update, October 11, 2021:  China still has not made an official announcement, but Andrew Jones, a reporter specializing in the Chinese space program, tweeted that launch is expected on October 15 at 1613 UTC based on a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). That would be October 16, 12:13 am Beijing Time.  [The tweet converts 1613 UTC to 10:13 am EDT, but it actually is 12:13 pm EDT.]

(NOTAMs warn pilots to avoid certain areas, like launch sites when a launch is about to take place. Space sleuths monitor NOTAMs trying to anticipate space launches when the launching authority declines to share information. The method is only somewhat reliable since NOTAMS can be easily rescinded or extended. This launch date/time does correspond to what was reported in the SCMP, however.)

Original Entry: China reportedly is getting ready to launch its next crew to the Tianhe core space station module.  The South China Morning Post (SCMP) said on October 7 that the launch will take place in the “early hours of October 16.” Presumably that refers to Beijing Time, which would be October 15 Eastern Daylight Time (12 hours behind Beijing time).

Officially China has not said anything about when it will launch, which is typical.

The launch had been rumored for October 3 Beijing Time, but reportedly was delayed to allow more time to prepare.

The three-person Shenzhou-13 crew reportedly will be composed of two men and a woman, Wang Yaping, on her second spaceflight. They will remain on Tianhe for 6 months, the longest duration Chinese human spaceflight. Tianhe is the first of three modules that eventually will compose the China Space Station (CSS), also called Tiangong-3.



October 15, 2021
12:00 pm - 11:00 pm