There is no one area of chemical engineering that specifically helped me in my career as an astronaut, it was more the general education in engineering. Also, it was a very difficult and rigorous course. So, it made me strong and resourceful.

— Leroy Chiao

The most surprising Leroy Chiao quotes that will activate your desire to change

One of my challenges was to try to photograph the Great Wall of China.

And I did actually take some photos, but it was hard to discern the wall with the naked eye.

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I'm Chinese-American, of course, and so it's very interesting to see China actually launch their own astronauts, becoming the third nation, following the United States and Russia, to do so.

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I think it's good to have competition.

Now we have a third country that can launch astronauts, so it's good for all of us. It makes us a little bit more competitive and wanting to be the leader.

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I had done everything I could do as an astronaut, and we have a long line of inexperienced astronauts waiting for their first missions, and so my role really should be to step aside and help them prepare for their missions, rather than to try to get another mission.

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I hope that China will continue with space exploration.

It would be logical to have international co-operation. I hope that it will come about and that I can be involved in it.

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I would say keep supporting space flight, keep telling the public and the politicians why it's important to advance science and explore the galaxy. I encourage the Japanese to keep doing what they're doing.

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Space is very unforgiving business

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I loved flying as much as I thought I would and continue to fly aircraft.

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It was in the back of my mind, even while I was going to school, but it wasn't until I was at university studying engineering that I thought, well what do I really want to do? And I kind of came back to that and I said, well the degrees I'm trying to get are going to qualify me to apply. And so, that's what I did after I finished my, or after I was getting my doctorates. That's when I first applied to NASA.

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One day, people will be able to buy tickets to visit space.

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Rockets have remained fundamentally unchanged, except for a few exceptions for the last almost 50 years. So, for there to be a fundamental shift in rocketry and getting into space, there almost has to be a breakthrough in propulsion. Either in how to bring the price down, or how to more efficiently get people up into space and the key barrier is the expense of a rocket.

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The neatest thing about research and science is we don't necessarily know what's going to come down the pike. We think we know what we're working on. Oftentimes, discoveries are made when you're trying to discover something else. You end up accidentally discovering a different thing. So, one of those things might happen that enable us to have more efficient rockets.

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About Leroy Chiao

Quotes 26 sayings
Profession Engineer
Birthday August 28, 1960

You saw Britain back in the early days of sailing ships.

They were the sea power, the controlled the seas and they had colonies all over the world and then you can look at history and watch the way that their empire kind of crumbled. I certainly don't want that to happen to the United States in space technology.

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My running ambition is to keep doing it until I'm way past the point where I have any business running. Just to keep doing it throughout my whole life—to stay fit and feel good.

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What keeps me up at night? Probably most, thinking about the future for my kids.

It sounds kind of funny, but not so much what they're going to do, but how as a parent, how my wife and I as parents, how best we should prepare them for the world. And I know everybody does this, I think everybody stays up at night thinking about the best thing for their kids, and astronauts are no different.

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When Russians were having troubles, the Space Shuttle supported the Space Station Mir bringing up much needed supplies and replacements, critical spares, really. That they were able to keep their space station going for much longer than they would have without us. So, I think that shows the value of international cooperation.

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Coming down under a parachute is quite different as well.

You hit the ground pretty hard, but all the systems work very well to keep it from hurting, so it doesn't even hurt when you hit. It was a great experience to be able to do both.

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Of course, you'll have to meet the physical and psychological demands.

A space walk takes a lot of energy.

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The thing that you worry about your first flight or any flight is some kind of a problem coming up that is going to keep you from doing it. Whether it's being hit by a car, or getting in a bad accident, or coming down with some other medical disqualification. But once the boosters light, you're going.

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Where we're operating is orbital adventures.

We would offer five to seven days in low Earth orbit aboard our own spacecraft where customers would have the view of the Earth; get to experience really living in space, probably conducting some scientific investigations that we would piggyback onto those flights. So, they would have the whole experience, kind of a mini-experience of what professional astronauts have.

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As commander I was responsible for the overall success of the mission, and so I had to know at least a little bit about everything.

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Getting into a space suit and going outside, to me, getting your peripheral vision involved and looking at the Earth was a whole different experience than looking through the window. And it's kind of the same on earth. If you're driving in a car and you see like a beautiful sunset or landscape, it looks so much better if you stop and get out and kind of take it all in and that's kind of what it's like doing a spacewalk.

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Tinkering is something we need to know how to do in order to keep something like the space station running. I am a tinkerer by nature.

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I actually had four space flights altogether, three times on shuttles.

My second flight was really unique for me because I was going back into space, first of all. The first one was like an appetizer at a nice dinner. You know, you want to go up and you want more. So, the second time I got into space, it was neat because I got to actually do two space walks.

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In a big picture sense, it's more national prestige that we're risking.

You know, we are proud of our space program, but as we were talking earlier, the average American doesn't think that much about it right now. So, it may seem like something we could just give up and not really worry about it, but I think it starts creeping into the national psyche. If American astronauts have to hitch rides with the Russians or other nations in the future.

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