Sun, November 01, 2009
Sci-Tech > Science

China's "father of space program" mourned across country

2009-11-01 06:32:52 GMT2009-11-01 14:32:52 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

File photo of Qian Xuesen, widely acclaimed as the country's "father of space technology" and "king of rocketry". Qian died of illness here Saturday morning at the age of 98.(Xinhua File Photo)

Local residents of Xiaoying Alley lay the white chrisanthemum to mourn for the just passed-away China's keystone space scientist Qian Xuesen, in front of his portrait on a stone tablet in his hometown of Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, Oct. 31, 2009. (Xinhua/Xu Zuoheng)

Local residents of Xiaoying Alley holding the white chrisanthemum mourn for the just passed-away China's keystone space scientist Qian Xuesen, in front of the former residence of Qian's hometown in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, Oct. 31, 2009. (Xinhua Photo)

Local residents of Xiaoying Alley holding the white chrisanthemum mourn in grief for the just passed-away China's keystone space scientist Qian Xuesen in front of his portrait on a stone tablet in his hometown of Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, Oct. 31, 2009. (Xinhua/Xu Zuoheng)

BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The death of China's legendary scientist Qian Xuesen has plunged many Chinese into deep sorrow and people across the country mourned the scientist, known as China's "father of space program," in different ways.

Qian, also known as Tsien Hsue-shen, died of illness in Beijing Saturday morning at the age of 98. He led the country's missile and aviation programs and played a significant role in developing China's first man-made earth satellite.

A small mourning hall was set up at Qian's home for the public. On Sunday morning, people with flowers showed up at Qian's home despite heavy snow to express condolences to his family.

News of his death hit newspaper headlines on Sunday.

The Beijing News on Sunday published an editorial and urge people to learn from his devotion to science and aspiration for truth.

Online news reports on his death were followed by thousands of messages from netizens.

"Qian has made great contributions to China, and he should be long remembered by all Chinese people," said a netizen named as "Li Yaoming".

"Qian has been working hard throughout his life. While mourning his leaving, our young generation should speed up efforts and make our own contributions to the country," said another netizen named as "1931".

In Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where Qian studied from 1929 to 1934, more than two thousand students held a memorial service on the campus on Saturday night to pay respect to their alumnus.

The university published a message of condolence on its website to Qian's family and relatives on Saturday, expressing grief and consolation on behalf of all students and teachers of the University.

The university's publishing house was working to compile and publish a picture album of Qian and a collection of his writings based on more than 800 pages of documents retrieved from the U.S. National Archives.

Qian, seen by many Chinese as one of the country's greatest scientists and a patriot, studied in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States in 1935 and later in the California Institute of Technology. He came back to China in 1955.

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