Gong Qinghai, male, Han nationality, was born to a poor worker's family in Jixi of Heilongjiang province in 1980.
When he was a child, his goal was to become a scientist. In 1999, he took the college entrance examination and became a student at Harbin Engineering University and majored in guidance and control technology.
In 2003, he enrolled in the graduate school at the 12th Unit of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) to study the guidance system of launch vehicles. CALT is a subordinate of the larger China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and its major contribution to Chinese launch capability has been the manufacture of the Long March family of rockets.
After three years of hard study, Gong began his career as an engineer at the CALT in April 2006.
He was responsible for designing and testing the guidance system of a modified model of the Long March CZ-2F rocket, which carried China's unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8 to space for the country's first space docking.
The rocket needed to use more advanced guidance technology, including iterative guidance, double inertial redundancy control and integrated navigation, making the design of the guidance system more complicated.
Gong never flinched from the formidable task; he would forgo his rest hours to devote himself to designing and testing. The huge pressure gave him a gigantic dynamic and wisdom. Gong, along with his colleagues, studied predecessors' achievements and drew lessons from their experiences. Finally, all the problems were solved one after another.
All the new techniques Gong participated in developing were verified to be applicable and these breakthroughs reduced the margin of error of the guidance system by 50 percent. It is very important for the successful launch of the Tiangong-1 and the Shenzhou-8.
It's noteworthy that the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft was accurately sent to the orbit on November 1, 2011, with a margin of error of no more than 10 meters in orbital altitude and no more than 0.001 degrees in orbital inclination. At that time, many at the CALT cried happy tears. Gong was one of them.
Gong has earned a number of honors, including the Third Prize for Military Sci-Tech Progress and several prizes for Technical Improvement at CALT.