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Three generations dedicated to space program
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Feb 01, 2021

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"Earnest and serious, considerate and meticulous, sound and reliable, and absolutely safe" is the motto of Guo Shiyu's father, the deputy chief engineer of an institution under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

The principle was first brought up in 1964 by then-Premier Zhou Enlai to guide the country's scientific research on national defense. It's also the goal of Guo, an employee of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and the third generation of China's aerospace personnel.

"My father disciplined himself by the principle and he expected me to achieve it too, because a pennyworth component of a rocket matters in a project that may involve several trillion yuan, let alone astronauts' lives,"Guo said.

Like 31-year-old Guo, many third generation aerospace personnel whose grandparents participated or witnessed the establishment of the academy-located in the southern part of Beijing-regard "rigorous and precise" as the law of their work and the most vital spirit they inherited from their family.

Bi Ran, an employee at the finance department of the academy, said what her parents and grandparents taught her was really simple: Do things right the first time.

"I never made a mistake due to carelessness in assignments and exams during my time at school," Bi said.

Living in the same community with her peers who are also children of aerospace personnel, Bi didn't realize the special nature of her parents' work until the successful launch of Shenzhou V-China's first human spaceflight mission-in 2003.

"Posters of the successful launch were all over my high school. My teachers and classmates respected my parents and even me when they knew my family was involved in the spaceflight mission. I felt proud to say my parents made the launch vehicle, and that was the moment I considered joining them," Bi said.

When Bi actually became one of the spaceflight family after graduation, the academy she thought she knew well gave her more surprises.

"The working atmosphere is pleasant beyond the tedious and rigorous procedures," she said.

Bi was delighted to see the tradition of strong inheritance in the aerospace family. Knowledge passed down from the previous generation is a treasure for each greenhorn.

"Veteran accountants in my department will hand down their 'secret sauce', including working procedures, tips and experiences, to the next generation for them to quickly grasp the skills," she added.

Similar to Bi, Guo's commitment to the spaceflight career started from 2007 when the university freshman saw China's first unmanned lunar probe Chang'e 1 make a smooth launch. "Before I graduated in 2011, space station Tiangong-1 made another step forward to the universe, and so I was determined to work on space missions," he said.

Guo applied his knowledge of logistics, which he majored in college, to the material management work at the academy and has won a safety production award with his team members. Each generation of aerospace personnel pursues high quality and error-free work, he said.

Guo's grandfather was one of the first batch of Chinese aerospace staff who witnessed the academy being built in the middle of nowhere in the 1950s.

As an electronic science and technology student, he devoted himself to aerospace measurements."At that time, all we were thinking was to make a rocket and have our own missile. We never expected spaceflight prospects to be as bright as now," he said.

"Aerospace is a grand project while everyone's work is ordinary. No matter designing or managing, it's detailed tasks that compose a great mission, so I hope Guo would take details seriously and work hard at his position. ... A little error may lead to a large discrepancy."

That was echoed by 31-year-old Liu Mingjie, a team leader for component procurement at the academy. As a child he used to see the academy and the community he grew up in as quite mysterious because family members sometimes talk "secrets" behind him and there were always armed police guarding the gate.

"But since I really worked in the logistics department at the academy, I have found that the aerospace business isn't all about sophistication and mystery. Elaborate work related to a single screw is important too,"Liu said.

What Liu learned most from his family was being dedicated to every simple assignment, even though they seemed trivial.

Guo's mother, a retired senior engineer in the aerospace industry, said dedication is the spirit she inherited from her father and passed down to her son.

"I hope the young generation, smart and open-minded, still concentrate on their work despite temptations outside," she said.

As Guo's two-year-old son showed interest when watching the National Day parade in 2019, Guo thought it was possible that his son would be one of the aerospace family in the future.

"When he grows up, we may have already completed building the Chinese Space Station and embarked on a manned Mars exploration.

"Like the saying goes, 'My conquest is the sea of stars'. I hope someday space activities will be as easy as taking a train or flight now," Guo said.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Related Links
China National Space Agency
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

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