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China Space Tour

I was very fortunate to be invited to Beihung University for two weeks to learn about the academic program and Chinese aerospace industry in July of 2011. The meeting involved 150 students of which half were Chinese natives and the remaining from 26 different countries around the world. I was also fortunate to take this trip with Brian Pomeroy, a close friends from Penn State.

Traveled throughout Beijing and took the train to Tianjin for a day trip.

First meal in China, beef and noodles with my two Chinese partners who picked me up at the airport.

First touristy thing, catching a glimpse at the Bird's Nest right down the street from the University

In front of the Olympic Water "Ice" Cube where Phelps won his gold medals. I didn't know this but the Communist party is celebrating it's 90th anniversary

Conference / Symposium / School registration. 70 international from 26 countries matched with local Chinese engineering students from Beihang University of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Chinese version of Apple's iphone

Group picture #1

Class 5 (was the best one)

The opening ceremony, quite formal

Love 6 yuen Chinese beer

Great dinner, best part of meat-on-a-stick is that you don't have to work those crazy chop sticks

Amazing fish dish

Our daily lunch in the dinning hall...

The largest water tunnel in Asia

Anechoic Chamber at Beihang University

One evening we explored the software available in one of their design lab studios to find a lot of the same software we see in the states, including STK

Helen's bar for international students... was a regular evening gathering place

Helen's bar for international students... was a regular evening gathering place

Grabbing a picture with Brian while waiting for the next session to start

Interneting it up, with a clever VPN account, many of us were able to bypass the restrictions and access facebook / twitter. Gmail worked regardless but was very slow

If the Chinese students are going to teach us how to use chopsticks, then we're going to teach them how to use forks.

Chinese / Russian Rocket!

Evening session in the Beihang space structures dynamics lab going through a project that's normally part of the school curriculum

China Google! (recently moved to Taiwan... I wonder how much longer this sign will be here)

Hotpot lunch, classic Chinese meal. You're served thin slices of raw meat and you cool it in spiced boiling water... a good dish

Evening session in the university Lab of Spacecraft and Missile Technology

Tienanmen Square

In Tienanmen Square with my Chinese partners

North end of Tienanmen Square, chilling with Mao

The Forbidden city roofs were amazing, the qty of "dragons" / animals on the edges represent the level of royalty of those residing inside... here 9 is the highest

The main building of the Forbidden City. If you don't know that much about this place, it's the palace of the emperors which ruled for 1500 years. The place is literally the size of a city right in the middle of downtown Beijing with thousands of structures surrounded by a large wall. Peasants were never able to enter or even see into the elaborate palace. There are probably 10 structures of this size inside the walls

Imperial Garden inside the Forbidden City, these trees are very old and are well taken care of

Imperial Garden inside the Forbidden City

Imperial Garden inside the Forbidden City

Chinese Space Program bill board that I barely caught with my camera! We should do this in the states!

Chilling in a tower of the great wall

CUSEDS on the great wall!

The wall has fairly steep climbs to go from one tower to another, I wonder how a soldier would transit for miles to protect the wall if he had to climb 1000 vertical feet per mile

Dave of G-Tech making it to the top of tower 16 (after coming from tower 1)

Neat engineering

Food market on the street

We had a dumpling training session one evening, I did pretty well and made an "American" sized one... the normal size is to the right

At the local Walmart... nothing was in English and we often came across weird items and had no idea what was inside. Paying for our items was interesting without our Chinese partners to translate



Having the famous Peking Duck. Was delicious

Street vendor at 2am

So the drinking age in China doesn't really exist... so as a result you get "Baby 'Oh" or "Justin Bieber" themed bars. You would never see this in America as most of us grow out of teen idols by the age of 21...

Missed my brother's birthday, but drew him this picture (stars are a bit lopsided)

Closing party of the conference / symposium / school

Took our Chinese buddies out for an "American" meal at the Hard Rock Cafe. They all enjoyed their 8 oz burgers (we had to explain what 8 oz means). We have some cool Russians here as well, all three human space fairing nations represented...

Outside the Hard Rock Cafe Beijing at 2am. Moments later we saw a brigade of Chinese soldiers marching through the street... was an interesting place and time to see that

At the summer palace just north west of Beijing (by a few km)

I didn't take a picture of the relics, but did grab one of the railing

Standing on the palace terrace, on a man-made island, in the middle of a man-made lake... and this was the Emperor's summer home? They spared no expense

Cool green roofs, not a royal color but the contrast looks better (in my opinion)

Lets build another structure on top of a cliff

Cool bridge, although it's ~45 degrees climbing up and over the sucker

A little dream come true to be able to walk freely around the Bird's Nest, what an amazing structural feat! I vividly recall watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics, nothing like a billion dollar production with the entire world watching


I frequently saw people on small bikes transporting huge amounts of gear, finally snapped a picture of one

Dinner with a few good friends

Yes! The four characters on the side of the rocket translate to: Chinese Navigation [to the] Heavens

The last shuttle flight was on the front page of Beijing's newspapers. I wonder what the article says... probably "It's our turn now..."

I can't figure out exactly what this is however was told that it's part of the Shenzhou program which if true is incredibly awesome. It probably was probably part of the re-entry development

Early Chinese rockets from the late 50s

McDonalds in China... (we had to be American at least once)

My first BigMac in probably 5 years, same for Brian Pomeroy

Tienanmen Square at night is closed, but we were able to get close to the north gate for a while.

"Can I get a picture with you?" This happened at least once a day and I have pictures like all over Beijing. Many Chinese people have never met a "westerner" in person before and it was humbling and yet weird to be so different form everyone around us.

Took the bullet train to Tianjin for the day, was awesome (although we later heard of the incident which occurred on the same day 1000 miles to the south... yikes!)

True engineers, amazing cockpit

Our top speed on the bullet train

Tianjin waterway, was an awesome city

Walmart in Tianjin.... idk I had such a great time in the Walmarts

Tianjin market, quite a bit of a different feel from Beijing

There are awesome Chinese street signs everywhere... this was the only good one I was able to get a picture of. My favorite was a "mind your height" with a picture of a giraffe driving a car... haha

Tianjin waterway at night

Chinese Starbucks... (coffee shops aren't too common so I grabbed this shot)

I had to take a picture of this....

Another reference to the Chinese space program... "Official partner of China's lunar exploration program" on the Beijing Airport train

My first sighting of a Airbus A380 at SFO! Cool!

During our layover in San Francisco, Brian and I were able to meet up with some great PSU buddies. We took a fencing class together senior year (see next picture)

Fencing at PSU in 2006, 5 years prior to the picture taken on the 24th... was great to get this same group back together for the first time since Thanksgiving 2008