Yesterday, I led Yanan to watch the launch of Shen Zhou 9 Hao’s Rocket into space on TV at exactly 6:47 PM, sending one of the most key modules into orbit to be connected with Sheng Zhoa 8 Hao, part of the process of completing China’s own Space Station that will aid and fuel China’s 2020’s mission of putting a man on the moon.
China will be the second nation in the entire world to put a man on the moon — after America. (Even the Soviet Union at its height could not accomplish such a difficult task.)
RIGHT: A Chinese rocket sitting waiting for launch. A truly impressive sight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
As I watched the launch process with Yanan, and as the rocket flied across each and every one of China’s major radar sites, out of earth’s atmosphere and into the empty space of the unknown, without a single glitch or altering of the assigned orbital flight, I was proud and filled with unknown emotions.
I understand, in my decade of studying engineering, physics, airplanes, and missiles, that the Laws of Nature are at their most unforgiving point at that kind of speed and precision. (If you remember just a month ago, North Korea tried to launched a satellite into space, catching the entire world’s attention, only to be shamed in front of the whole world by the global media.)
You cannot will your way into overpowering Nature’s unchanging and unforgiving laws and God’s active forces with these kinds of high desires and demands that man wants to accomplish. Only through becoming the most humble expert in understanding all of Nature’s Laws and through the use of most cutting-edge and precise technologies and instruments, can man perform such miracles of gods.
I tried to explain the entire rocket’s structure and launch process to Yanan. I tried to teach her the physical principles of firing an imaginary “artillery shell” at such a speed into the sky that will be forever trying to fall back on to the earth with its gravitational pull, but never quite reaching the ground.
I tried to explain to her the precision needed in launching a rocket into space’s busy orbit, all without being able to alter that launch course because of its speed, as the friction of the atmosphere will rip off any kinds of aeronautical fins you tried to put on there. (Only through high-energy, combustion reactions can you alter the rocket’s course by just a little bit.)
Shengzhou 9 Hao is a well-deserved victory China’s space and engineering program. Even Yanan is filled with pride in China’s successful launch of the spaceship, without much understanding of the complexity of such a engineering miracle.
As we watched all of the interviews with each and one of the astronauts, engineers, and scientists, the leader of this team who led 2 others into space moved me and reminded me of you. The captain of this space team who will manually perform the module connections was a very calm and strong person.
He was not a handsome nor young man. He came from a very, very poor farmer’s family. He told the entire world, with humility and confidence, that he did not choose his career, but the country chose him by each opportunity that was presented to him throughout his life. When he was born, his family had no money to send him to school but put him on their fruitless farm. However, a Chinese Air Force Base was built not too far from the mud house that he was living in. An Air Force lieutenant was recruiting soldiers to become future pilots when he was still in his teens.
When the recruiter saw that he was a pretty bright kid, he took him away from his family and sent him to school at the airbase to study aeronautical engineering. As fate would have it, China, especially at this airbase, grew in its power, wealth, and technology. In 10 years, he got the opportunity to fly some of the Second Generation and Third Generation Fighter Planes.
But even with his stable job as a pilot, he had a very high demand for himself and never just looked at the “surface aeronautical data,” but “always tried to understand the foundational principles and theories” that were producing these data. He excelled in his studies as well as his skills as a pilot. And he never wanted to look back to the desperate poverty of where he had come from.
As China grew in power, wealth, and technology, he was selected out of many of his colleagues into China’s Space Training Program. And out of 3,000 Chinese pilots he was selected in the top 3 pilots in the real space simulation program.
He called it fate, and he was not about to let fate as well as the fortune of his entire country down. He trained each day on the ground with such high attention to each detail and followed each methodology so carefully for years that it was almost like he was actually sent into space already each day he spent training on earth. And it was this that impressed all the leaders and led the leaders to pick him to pilot Sheng Zhou 9 Hao out of 3,000 expert, Chinese pilots.
With years of training on the ground, when he was interviewed by the Chinese and the entire world’s media on how much confidence he had on correctly piloting the ship to connect the space modules together, he replied, with a soft and silent confidence, “One hundred percent.”
There are a lot of prestigious opportunities in this world that we don’t get to pick as our career’s destinations. However, like him, like you, like who I will become, we must prepare and train each day here on earth, with such careful attention to details, knowledge, and skills, just like we are already sent into the heavens of the unknown space, disregarding what our fate actually has planned for us. This is really the only attitude to have to live out a full and meaningful life.
Happy Father’s Day!
Sincerely, Your Son,
Charles L. Wang