Qian Xuesen

Scientist, Academic

1911 – 2009


Who was Qian Xuesen?

Qian Xuesen was a scientist who made important contributions to the missile and space programs of both the United States and People's Republic of China. The name he used in English was Hsue-Shen Tsien or H.S. Tsien.

During the 1940s Qian was one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. During the Second Red Scare of the 1950s, the United States government accused Qian of having communist sympathies, and he was stripped of his security clearance in 1950. Qian then decided to return to China, but instead was detained at Terminal Island near Los Angeles. After spending 5 years under virtual house arrest, Qian was released in 1955, in exchange for the repatriation of American pilots captured during the Korean War. Notified by U.S. authorities that he was free to go, Qian immediately arranged his departure, leaving for China in September 1955, on the passenger liner SS President Cleveland of American President Lines, via Hong Kong. He returned to lead the Chinese rocket program, and became known as the "Father of Chinese Rocketry".

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Dec 11, 1911
Also known as
  • Tsien Hsue-shen
  • Hsue-Shen Tsien
  • H.S. Tsien
  • China
  • Doctorate, California Institute of Technology
    ( - 1939)
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
    Mechanical Engineering
    ( - 1934)
  • Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    ( - 1936)
Oct 31, 2009
Resting place
Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery

on July 23, 2013


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"Qian Xuesen." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 26 Jun 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/tsien_hsue-shen>.

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