Professor Gui Haichao: China's First Payload Expert to Travel to Space Station
Release time:May 31, 2023

China's manned spaceship Shenzhou XVI, atop the Long March 2F carrier rocket, blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China's Gobi Desert on the morning of May 30, transporting three Chinese astronauts to the Tiangong space station. Among them, astronaut Gui Haichao is a doctoral supervisor from the Department of Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Technology of the School of Astronautics of Beihang University.

Professor Gui is China’s first-ever civilian astronaut into space. Born in 1986, Gui's enthusiasm for science has been developing since childhood. He had a set of encyclopedias from which he gained a lot of basic space knowledge. In the college entrance examination, Gui ranked first in his county and was admitted to Beihang University, majoring in aircraft design and engineering at the School of Astronautics. After nine years of hard work, he earned a doctorate. He then went abroad for three years as a postdoctoral researcher before returning to Beihang University through talent introduction programs to engage in teaching and research work. He has published 30 SCI-indexed papers, obtained two invention patents, led more than ten scientific research projects, and is a true scientist.

In 2018, China announced a plan to recruit its third group of astronauts, and specified that this would include not only pilots, but also flight engineers and payload specialists. Gui signed up immediately without any hesitation and stood out from 2,500 candidates, becoming one of the 18 reserve astronauts and one of the 4 selected payload experts. After rounds of trying training such as centrifuge training, high G-force endurance training, and physical training, Gui was eventually nailed down as the payload expert for this mission. Gui said: "I once dreamed of being able to move my beloved scientific research work into space someday. Now my dream comes true.”

Shenzhou XVI will be the first crewed mission since China's space station entered its application and development stage. As the team's payload expert, Professor Gui will undertake many space science experiments in various fields. "I'm confident that we can complete the mission with the team's joint efforts," he said.

Editor: Zhang Anqi