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Famous Chinese Americans Aviation and Aerospace

  Who What
Leroy Chiao

b. 1960, Milwaukee
After graduating with degrees in chemical engineering, Chiao researched the development of advanced aerospace materials. He joined NASA in 1990 and became an astronaut in 1991. He has flown on three shuttle missions, logging almost 600 hours in space and becoming the first Asian to go out on a spacewalk.
Katherine Sui Fun Cheung
b. 1904, Guangdong
d. 2003
First Asian American woman pilot. Cheung left China at 17 to study music in Los Angeles. Her fascination with flying led her to take flying lessons at age 26, going on her first solo flight after only 12.5 hours of instructions. She was a member of the exclusive aviatrix-only "99 Club" presided by Amelia Earhart, whom she knew and flew with on several occasions. Cheung amazed crowds with sensational loops and rolls of her plane in air shows and often flew in air races. She intended to fly to China to train pilots there but a tragic accident which destroyed her plane and killed her cousin ended her plans to do so.
Maj. Arthur Chin

b. 1913, Portland
d. 1997, Portland
Chin was born in Oregon to Cantonese father and a Peruvian mother. Sparked by the Japanese invasion of China, Chin enrolled in flight school in 1932. Along with 15 other Chinese Americans, he left for China and joined the Cantonese Air Force. He destroyed eight enemy aircrafts. In 1939 his plane was hit by enemy fire and crashed. He parachuted to safety but was badly burned. Nevertheless, after several years of surgery he returned to China to fly supplies over the Himalayas. He is recognized as the America's first ace in World War II. A detailed biography is available here.
Edward Tsang Lu

b. 1963, Springfield, MA
Astronaut. After obtaining his PhD in Applied Physics from Stanford University, he worked in astrophysics in Colorado. After a stint as post-doctoral fellow in Honolulu, HI, he joined NASA in 1994. He has flown on two shuttle missions and one Soyuz mission, becoming the first American to launch and land on a Soyuz.
Taylor Gun-Jin Wang

b. 1940, Shanghai
Astronaut. Taylor obtained his PhD in Physics from UCLA. He joined CalTech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1972. He is the author of numerous scientific papers and holds 20 US patents. He flew in the shuttle Challenger in 1985, which was the first operational Spacelab mission. This flight established him as the first ethnic Chinese in space. He is currently a professor of materials science at Vanderbilt University.