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Your evening longread: The man the US deported - who then helped China into space

It’s a coronavirus-free zone as we bring you an interesting longread each evening to take your mind off today’s news events.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Vadim Sadovski

EVERY WEEK, WE bring you a round-up of the best longreads of the past seven days in Sitdown Sunday.

And now, every weeknight, we bring you an evening longread to enjoy which will help you to escape the news cycle.

We’ll be keeping an eye on new longreads and digging back into the archives for some classics.

Qian Xuesen: The man the US deported – who then helped China into space

A Chinese scientist, Qian Xuesen, helped two superpowers reach the moon, writes Kavita Puri, but his story is remembered in only one of them.

In Shanghai there is an entire museum containing 70,000 artefacts dedicated to Qian, “the people’s scientist”.

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However, in the US, where he studied and worked for more than a decade, his significant contributions to space exploration are rarely remembered at all.

(BBC, approximately 14 mins reading time)

Qian was a Chinese citizen, but the Republic of China was an ally of the US, so there was “no massive suspicion about a Chinese scientist at the heart of American space endeavour”, says Fraser Macdonald.
Qian was given security clearance to work on classified weapons research, and even served on the US government’s Science Advisory Board.By the end of the war he was one of the world’s foremost experts on jet propulsion, and was sent with Theodore von Karman on an extraordinary mission to Germany, holding the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel. Their goal was to interview Nazi engineers, including Wernher von Braun, Germany’s leading rocket scientist; America wanted to find out exactly what the Germans knew.
But by the end of the decade Qian’s glittering career in the US came to a sudden halt, and his life there began to unravel. 

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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