BEIJING – Qian Xuesen, a rocket scientist known as the father of China's space technology program, died Saturday in Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency said. He was 98.
Qian, also known as Tsien Hsue-shen, began his career in the U.S. and was regarded as one of the brightest minds in the new field of aeronautics before returning to China in 1955, driven out of the United States at the height of anticommunist fervor.
I remember reading about Tsien Hsue-shen on Wikipedia one late night, amazed that he was hounded so much like Wen Ho Lee just because he was Chinese and lived in an era of irrational anti-Communist fervor. Imagine what could have been if the US hadn't driven him from Caltech back to China. How many Caltech-educated, Jet Propulsion Laboratory-founding aerospace engineers could China have recruited? He proved a huge asset to their rocket and space program and the current taikonauts owe a lot of him and his colleagues in China.