Happy Birthday, Beihang: 66 Years of Glory and a Brighter Future Ahead
Release time:October 25, 2018

October 25 is the Birthday of Beihang University and a festival for every Beihanger. From 1952 to 2018, the past 66 years witness the tremendous contributions Beihang made to the aerospace industry and the country. Today, let’s turn the pages of those glorious memories and take a close look at the current generation, who will join the cause of leading the university to an even brighter future.

1.The foundation stone laying ceremony of the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics

Under the instruction of Premier Zhou Enlai, the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics was founded on October 15, 1952 as the first institution of higher education in aeronautics and astronautics of the People’s Republic of China. It brought a batch of people with the lofty ideal of saving and serving the country by contributions made to the aviation industry to Baiyan Village, where they pioneered the cause of training aeronautic engineers for China. On April 22, 1988, the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics was officially renamed Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (later its English name was changed into Beihang University, but the Chinese name remained the same).

2.The scene of building Beijing 1

On September 24, 1958, the test flight of Beijing 1, China’s first self-developed light airliner succeeded. Confronted with the extreme lack of equipment and reference materials, the teachers and students of the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics struggled day and night for 100 days to finish this plane, completing over 3,000 innovations and inventions. Just like Beijing 1 soaring into the air, Beihangers are always the passionate and responsible eagles flying for China’s aerospace industry.

3.The first edition of Introduction to Aeronautics and Astronautics published in 1953

In the early days of the university, there were basically no teaching materials about aeronautics. Therefore, the editorial committee of teaching materials was established in 1953. In just one year, 14 textbooks and reference books were translated into Chinese and over 20 kinds of teaching materials were compiled. In 1954, another 53 types of textbooks were translated under the help of Soviet experts.

4.The February 1976 issue of Aerospace Knowledge adopting a plain cover in memory of Premier Zhou, who passed away in January 1976


In 1958, the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics published the first issue of Aerospace Knowledge, the first popular science magazine about aerospace and national defense in China. Temporarily suspended in 1960, its publication was restarted in 1964 by the Chinese Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics, but the editorial office was still located at the university. For 60 years, this magazine has enlightened several generations about aerospace and inspired countless people to pursue their dreams in the sky and devote themselves to the national defense cause of China.

5.An exchange with a foreign aeromodelling team

In 1970s, the U.S. President Nixon’s visit to China was a sign of hope for mutual understanding between China and the world, and the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics was chosen as a platform for presentation and communication with the world in the scientific and technologic aspect. Led by Academician Shen Yuan, a leader team for foreign affairs was established accordingly, and its work received strong support and care from Premier Zhou and Vice Chairman Ye Jianying.

6.Beihang Volunteers working inside Lunar Palace 1 during the Lunar Palace 365 Experiment, the longest bioregenerative life support system experiment with the highest degree of closure in the world

Since its change of name in 1988, the university has gradually developed into a multi-level comprehensive university that focuses on engineering and features a first-class discipline system covering arts, science, engineering, medicine, management, etc. In recent years, it has been facilitating multidisciplinary research, among which the Lunar Palace 1, China’s first Integrative Experimental Facility for Permanent Astrobase Life-support Artificial Closed Ecosystem (PALACE), is an exemplar of combining medicine with engineering. The university has also established Beihang School and six colleges in general disciplines to nurture freshmen and sophomores with general education in a broad range of subjects, aiming at educating Beihang students into multidisciplinary leaders with strong aspirations, knowledge, vision, and a truth-seeking spirit.

7.Several works from the Feng Ru Cup in 2016

Beihang actively deepens the reform of innovation and entrepreneurship education and encourages its students to innovate. It is the only institute of higher education that wins in the Challenge Cup, a national science and technology contest for university students, for 15 times consecutively, and it will organize the contest in 2019. Also, Beihang has held the Feng Ru Cup, a brand activity for innovation and entrepreneurship, for 27 times. The Feng Ru Cup draws the participation of more than 70% of Beihang undergraduates, and a series of works from it have been developed into quality projects and entered the transformation stage.

8.The handover ceremony of Beihang school flag carried by C919 during its first flight

Every year Beihang University will be honored on the National Science and Technology Award Conference for its major achievements in scientific research. Winning 12 national-level first prizes, it sets the record of a university winning the highest-level science and technology award consecutively, and this accomplishment is praised as the Beihang Model for scientific and technological innovation. To commend its long-time contributions, C919, the domestically-made large passenger aircraft, carried the school flag of Beihang University to witness its first flight. The school flag has also travelled into space on Shenzhou-4 and Shenzhou-9 before.

Concluding remarks

During the past 66 years, Beihang University has made outstanding contributions in terms of discipline development, talent cultivation, scientific and technological innovation, national defense and so on. Beihangers have always been determined to serve the country with their commitment to the aerospace industry of China since the birth of the university, and this tradition will undoubtedly be carried on by future generations. Passing another milestone, the university will continue to forge ahead with its cause, and all the best wishes at this memorable moment come down to the most simple and sincere words: Happy Birthday, Beihang!


Planned and written by Zeng Jiaqi

Designed by Wang Zixuan

Edited and translated by Li Mingzhu

Reviewed by GEOOS

Special thanks to the School History Museum

Please send contributions to geoos@buaa.edu.cn