Young scientists and engineers are playing an increasingly important role in China's space program, and behind China's successful launch of its second manned spacecraft are a group of them 48.7 years of age on average.
Wang Yongzhi, 73, chief designer of China's manned space program, said these young people grew up along with the progress of the program and have become mainstay of the undertakings.
From 1955 when Qian Xuesen, father of China's space program also known as Tsien Hsue-sen, returned to China from the United States till 2005 when China launched its second manned space vehicle Wednesday morning, five generations of space scientists and engineers have contributed to the realization of Chinese people's centuries-old dream of flying in space.
Ninety-four-year-old Qian, the leader of China's rocketry program, belongs to the first generation space scientists, and Wang Yongzhi, who once studied in the former Soviet Union, is a representative of the second generation space scientists. Wang has witnessed the development of China's space program from the launch of Shenzhou-1 to Shenzhou-6 spaceships.
Qi Faren, former chief designer of the country's manned spacecraft, and Huang Chunping, former commander-in-chief of the rocket system, are regarded as representatives of the third generation cultivated by China itself. They gave their places to Zhang Bainan and Liu Yu in 2004, both in their forties and some 30 years younger than Ri and Huang.
One of the major achievements of China's manned space program over the past dozen years is a group of young space scientists have grown up, said Wang.
Among members of the fifth generation, who contributed to the development Shenzhou-6 space vehicle, are aged below 35 years, and some of them are only 32 years old.
"Give them another 20 years, you can't imagine what miracle they will have made," said Wang.