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Father of China's Space Tech Program Dies at 98

By VOA News
31 October 2009

Chinese scientist Qian Xuesen, who is known as the father of China's space technology program, has died in Beijing.
He was 98.

Qian, also known as Tsien Hsue-shen, set up the country's first missile and rocket research institute, which later helped to start China's space program.

Thanks largely to Qian, China sent a man into space - one of only three countries to do so.

Qian was born in 1911 in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. After graduating from Shanghai's Jiao Tong University, he left for the United States in 1935 to study mathematics and aviation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology.

He returned to China in 1955 and joined the Communist Party three years later. He was put in charge of developing the country's ballistic missiles.

Qian oversaw the development of China's first atomic bomb, detonated in 1964.

The weekly publication Aviation Week and Space Technology named Qian its Person of the Year in 2007.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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