Qian Xuesen was a pioneer of China’s satellite programs and a world-renowned aerospace engineer and physicist.
In 1935, Qian went to study abroad in the aviation department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later studied aviation engineering at the California Institute of Technology. His teacher Theodore von Karman, a legendary Caltech professor, said Qian was an “undisputed genius.”
In 1949, the People's Republic of China was founded, and Qian decided to go home and work for the aerospace industry in his homeland. However, the US was afraid of his scientific ability. His return was fraught with difficulties. In 1955, Qian and his family returned to China after waiting five years.
“Wherever Qian goes, he equals five divisions,” then US Under-Secretary of the Navy Dan A. Kimball once said.
Qian then worked at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and devoted himself to national defense. He was the first president of the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), which was established in 1968 to promote China’s space technology.
He participated in China’s aerospace development and offered great guidance in China’s space missions. With his efforts, China successfully detonated its first atomic bomb and first hydrogen bomb, and launched its first man-made satellite Dongfanghong-1. Qian was awarded the Two Bombs and One Satellite Merit Award in 1999.
“Love the country, advocate science, pursue truth, and serve the people.” Qian’s name will always be remembered for the contribution he made to China’s aerospace development.
(Illustrated by Lu Lingxing; Produced by Cheng Weidan, Bao Han and Xu Zheqi)