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Chinese students launch their own rockets

Reporter: Hou Yun 丨 CCTV.com

04-12-2016 13:04 BJT

The International Day of Human Space Flight is a day when dreams about outer space exploration get a boost. At Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a group of teachers and students are living their dream, by independently launching three research rockets, known as sounding rockets. 

This is how everything started ten years ago. A group of teachers and students from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics--known as Beihang-- launched their first independently made sounding rocket - Beihang One.

Since then, the team has sent three sounding rockets into the zone where the atmosphere meets outer space, the sub-orbit.

A sounding rocket is sometimes called a research rocket.  It carries instruments designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments.

Tian Hui, an instructor of the team, told us the purpose of the program.

"Our original intention to start the program was to train more students by providing them with a platform to put what they've learned in textbooks into actual practice," Tian said.

Routine work includes meetings and discussions, data collection and analysis, coordination with rocket parts manufacturers, rocket assembly and transportation, and finally, launching.

The program has provided generations of Beihang students with hands-on experience. And that experience gives them unparalled advantages in their career. Many former members have now become the pillar force at various institutes in China.

They are a group of people that are responsible and pragmatic. They don't have many illusions about their career, which the public often regard as great and mysterious.

"Since I began to take astronautics as my career, I found it very down-to-earth. You have to be pragmatic and precise in your daily work. It would not be unusual to spend hours on a single screw," Zhang Xiaotian, member of Beihang Series of Sounding Rocket Team, said.

"When I first started, it was all about realizing my dreams. But now, it is more about responsibility, as you represent your school and even your country in the field," Zhang Sheng, member of Beihang Series of Sounding Rocket Team, said.

The glory of the moment of every successful launch is fleeting. The team has already come back to earth to work on their fourth sounding rocket-- of course, much bigger and more complicated.  To them, the dream of space flight is grounded in actual, serious, daily work.

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