Posts Tagged jet propulsion

Qian Xuesen – A Genius. An Engima

Posted by on Sunday, 8 November, 2009
Qian_Xue-SenImage by Gang Lee

AeronauticalEngineering: OK foot. Hold still or I’ll SHOOT!

Quian Xuesen died.

Don’t feel bad.  I didn’t know the name either.

He was born in 1911 in Hankzhou and – long story – managed to come to the US.  He got a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering at MIT and then received his Phd at California Institute of Technology.


He was one of the top rocket scientists in the United States in the 40’s (You  guessed, right?). He helped us develop the technology for jet aircraft and he was part of the Manhattan project (Atomic Bomb). Xuesen is said to have left his mark on our current space program. At the end of World War II,  he was one of the ”chosen” who negotiated with famous German (then Nazi) rocket pioneer Wernher Von Braun about coming to work for the good guys in America.

A delicate assignment

But he was Chinese.

And he scared some people.

And, of course, he may have been a spy. Mister ScienceAintSoBad wouldn’t know about that. The record’s a little sketchy but, supposedly, someone came up with a communist party document that had his name on it.

It was enough for the FBI.

He was booted back to China in 1955 which the Undersecretary of the Navy said was the stupidest thing this country ever did.

Could be.

Qian Xuesen was warmly welcomed in China where he spent the rest of his life helping them catch up with us. He headed up their missile development program and his individual contributions to Chinese technology were vast.

What can I tell you?

He died on October 31st.