Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

China's Space Pioneers Hit New High
by Lin Shujuan and Xin Dingding
Beijing, China (XNA) Jan 13, 2010

Gu Chaohao.

The nation's top science and technology award for 2009 has been presented to two scientists who have made great contributions to the country's space development.

Gu Chaohao, 83, whose achievements in mathematics helped set a solid theoretical basis for China's space development; and space scientist Sun Jiadong, 80, received the award from President Hu Jintao yesterday morning in Beijing.

Gu was honored for his contributions to differential geometry, partial differential equations and mathematical physics, the awards committee said, while Sun was recognized for his 50-year contribution to the nation's space industry and continuing service on the frontlines of space technology. They were presented 5 million yuan ($733,000) each.

"When Gu started his mathematics studies, I don't think he would have realized how much he would contribute to the country's space industry," said Qi Faren, the chief designer of Chinese spacecraft since the launch of the Shenzhou manned spacecraft prototype in 1999.

"But his specialized fields, like impartial differential equations, have made the development of space science and technology much easier and far less costly."

Illustrating his point, Qi said before the use of impartial differential equations, testing a spacecraft meant flying one. However, thanks to the development of the theory, scientists can now test a spacecraft by simulating models on computers.

The application of Gu's mathematics theories goes well beyond the space industry, according to Mu Mu, one of Gu's post-doctorate students in the 1980s and now a researcher with the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

For example, scientists now rely mostly on partial differential equations for reliable weather forecasts.

"Mathematics is like a universal tool for various sciences," said Qi. "But its application in space exploration is among the most striking."

While scientists like Gu provided the theoretical basis for China's space development, Sun, chief designer of the nation's lunar exploration program, helped make the space dream a reality.

A graduate of Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy in the former Soviet Union, Sun, also known as China's "Father of Satellites", has been leading satellite research since 1967.

Colleagues remember him for his courage in asking for the removal of badges and sayings of Chairman Mao Zedong from a satellite to be launched in 1970 because they would affect the weight and reflectivity of the satellite and jeopardize the project.

However, by doing so, Sun risked his life at a time when any word or act "against" Mao was considered treason.

Ouyang Ziyuan, top scientist in the lunar exploration program, said Sun, as the program's chief designer, impressed him most by his ability to handle complicated issues.

"I raised many requirements in the hope of getting as much data as possible for research. But he stood firm, adopted an engineer's point of view and focused on the fundamental issue - to make orbiting come true," said Ouyang. "He said scientists complicate simple problems, while engineers' task is to simplify them."

In a letter to congratulate his 80th birthday last year, the late Qian Xuesen, considered the "Father of Space Technology", wrote: "You have made an outstanding contribution to China's space development, something the country and the people will not forget. I am proud of your achievement."

Sun regards yesterday's honor as a sign of the country's respect and encouragement for science and technology, and a matter of pride for space scientists.

The highest science prize annually awarded by the Chinese president is granted to no more than two outstanding scientists each year. It honors important breakthroughs in basic scientific research with far-reaching influence. It also rewards prominent scientists who have generated enormous economic returns or facilitated social progress.

So far, 16 scientists have been honored for their achievements. Wang Yongzhi, chief designer of China's manned space program, won the award in 2003.

"The State Science and Technology Award is regarded as a sign of both recognition and encouragement for scientists," said Qi. "The fact that two of the 16 scientists are from the space industry means two things: The government has recognized what we've achieved over the last decade and will continue to offer strong support for space development."

The nation has made rapid strides in the space industry over the past decade.

After the successful launch of the first manned spacecraft in 2003, the country marked the first spacewalk in December 2008.

Three month later, the first lunar probe concluded its 16-month mission, mapping and creating 3D images of the lunar surface.

Currently, China is preparing for a soft landing on the moon in 2012 with a rover vehicle. By around 2017, it hopes to have samples from the moon.


Related Links
- The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

China Building Large Radio Telescope For Space Observation
Shanghai (XNA) Jan 04, 2010
Construction of a 65-meter-diameter radio telescope started Tuesday in Shanghai, an official from one of funders said Wednesday. The telescope, a form of directional radio antenna used in radio astronomy, will be used in tracking and collecting data from satellites and space probes including Chinese astronomical projects like Chang'e lunar probe, YH-1 Mars exploration and other deep space explor ... read more

Planning Our Phases On The Moon

Space Systems Loral To Supply Lunar Mission Propulsion System

Lava tube could house moon colony

Moon Mission In Running For Next Big Space Venture

Martian Landform Observations Fill Special Journal Issue

NASA plans for Mars laboratory

NASA To Check For Unlikely Winter Survival Of Mars Lander

Opportunity Brushes Out RAT Cuttings

Spectacular Years Ahead In Space

Galactic GPS Possible With Pulsars And Gravity Waves

US still has space ambitions: NASA chief

Chairman Gordon Comments On President's Budget Request

China's Space Pioneers Hit New High

China Building Large Radio Telescope For Space Observation

China To Launch Civil HD Survey Satellite In 2011

China Launches First Public-Welfare Mini Satellite

How To Live Long And Prosper In Space

Russia Set To Launch Another Space Truck To ISS

Obama budget extends US commitment to space station

Mini-Research Module MRM1 At Cape For Shuttle Processing

Roscosmos Reserves Site For Vostochny Spaceport

USAF Awards ULA WGS-4 Satellite Launch

ISRO Plans Special Launch Pad At Sriharikotta

Arianespace Poised For 2010 Boost

Unprecedented Details Imaged On The Surface Of Betelgeuse

Satellite Could Locate Hundreds Of Earth-Sized Planets

Second Smallest Exoplanet Found To Date Discovered At Keck

Massive Stars Easy Targets For Planet Hunters

China places record order for Taiwan flat screens

Lego expands its universe with online game

New sunglasses can also be used for 3-D viewing

Plastic Logic aims QUE e-reader at business crowd

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement