The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Chinese Astronauts. The pantheon dataset contains 556 Astronauts, 12 of which were born in China. This makes China the birth place of the 4th most number of Astronauts behind Russia, and Ukraine.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Chinese Astronauts of all time. This list of famous Chinese Astronauts is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Chinese Astronauts.

Photo of Yang Liwei

1. Yang Liwei (b. 1965)

With an HPI of 52.91, Yang Liwei is the most famous Chinese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages on wikipedia.

Yang Liwei (Chinese: 杨利伟; born 21 June 1965) is a Chinese major general, former military pilot, and former taikonaut of the People's Liberation Army. In October 2003, Yang became the first person sent into space by the Chinese space program. This mission, Shenzhou 5, made China the third country to independently send humans into space. He is currently a vice chief designer of China Manned Space Engineering. Yang Liwei was born in Suizhong County, Huludao, Liaoning. His mother was a teacher and his father was an accountant at a state agricultural firm. Yang Liwei married Zhang Yumei with whom they had a son together. Zhang Yumei was a part of the People's Liberation Army and was a teacher in China's Space Program. In 1983, he enlisted for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and was admitted to the Air Force Second Flight Academy (空军第二飞行学院), graduating in 1987 with a bachelor's degree. He participated in the screening process for astronauts in 1996. In the PLAAF, he logged 1,350 hours of flight time as a fighter pilot before he went to space training. Yang entered Tsinghua University in Beijing for doctoral studies in 2004 and received a Doctor of Philosophy in Management in 2009. Yang was selected as a taikonaut candidate in 1998 and has trained for space flight since then. He was chosen from the final pool of 14 candidates to fly on China's first crewed space mission. A former fighter pilot in the Aviation Military Unit of the PLA, he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at the time of his mission. He was promoted to full Colonel on 20 October 2003. According to the Youth Daily, the decision had been made in advance of his spaceflight without Yang being made aware of it. The launch window of Shenzhou 5, was chosen to be 15 October 2003 because it would coincide with the conclusion of a Communist Party conference in Beijing and a day before President Hu Jintao's visit to Thailand for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. President Hu was present at the launch site to supervise the launch of Shenzhou 5. The launch was not broadcast on live television to prevent negative publicity in the event of a disaster. He was launched into space aboard his Shenzhou 5 spacecraft atop a Long March 2F rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert at 09:00 CST (01:00 UTC) on 15 October 2003. Prior to his launch almost nothing was made public about the Chinese taikonaut candidates; his selection for the Shenzhou 5 launch was only leaked to the media one day before the launch. The other two potential candidates for the space mission were Nie Haisheng and Zhai Zhigang who were also on standby as backup crews on the day of the launch. Yang Liwei reported the occurrence of abnormal vibrations two minutes after launch which he described as "very uncomfortable". The vibrations were later discovered to have come from the launcher rocket. As a consequence, corrective measures were swiftly taken to the design of the following CZ-2F carrier rocket for the Shenzhou-6. Yang punctuated his journey with regular updates on his condition; variations of "I feel good", the last coming as the capsule floated to the ground after re-entry. He spoke to his wife as the Shenzhou 5 started its eighth orbit around the Earth, assuring her from space: "I feel very good, don't worry". He ate specially designed packets of shredded pork with garlic, Kung Pao chicken and eight treasure rice, along with Chinese herbal tea. During the flight, Yang slept two times in 3-hour intervals. In the middle of the journey, state television broadcast footage of Yang waving a small flag of the People's Republic of China and that of the United Nations inside his capsule. State media said Yang's capsule was supplied with a gun, a knife and tent in case he landed in the wrong place. Yang's craft landed in the grasslands of the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia at around 06:30 CST on 16 October 2003 (22:00 UTC), having completed 14 orbits and travelled more than 600,000 km. Yang was in space for a total of 21 hours, Yang left the capsule about 15 minutes after landing, and was congratulated by Premier Wen Jiabao. But the astronaut's bleeding lips seen in the official images broadcast sparked rumors of a hard landing confirmed by accounts of personnel present at the landing site. Although the first Chinese citizen in space, Yang Liwei is not the first person of Chinese origin in space. Shanghai-born Taylor Wang flew on Space Shuttle mission STS-51-B in 1985. Wang, however, had become a United States citizen in 1975. Taylor Wang was not the first person born in China to go to orbit. William Anders was born in Hong Kong on 17 October 1933. Anders would be a part of the Apollo 8 lunar orbital mission in 1968. Yang visited Hong Kong on 31 October 2003, holding talks and sharing his experiences during a six-day stay in the territory. The visit coincided with an exhibition that featured his reentry capsule, spacesuit and leftover food from his 21-hour mission. On 5 November he travelled to Macau. On 7 November, Yang received the title of "Space Hero" from Jiang Zemin, the Chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission (CMC). He also received a badge of honour during a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People. Russia awarded him the Gagarin medal. The Chinese University of Hong Kong has given Yang an honorary doctorate. The asteroid 21064 Yangliwei and the fossil bird Dalingheornis liweii are named after him. In a move similar to that taken by the Soviet Union with national space flight hero Yuri Gagarin, an official decision to no longer assign him to future spaceflight missions was made. Yang was promoted to Major General on 22 July 2008. After the successful space flight of Shenzhou 5, Yang was given the position of vice-commander-in-chief of the astronauts system of China's crewed spaceflight project. Yang became an alternate member of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party at the 17th Party Congress in October 2007. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization awarded the UNESCO Medal on Space Science to Yang in October 2017. Yang Liwei is the director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office. Wan Hu List of Chinese astronauts Chinese space programme Spacefacts biography of Yang Liwei United Nations: Background Information on Chinese Astronaut, Yang Liwei

Photo of Shannon Lucid

2. Shannon Lucid (b. 1943)

With an HPI of 51.19, Shannon Lucid is the 2nd most famous Chinese Astronaut.  Her biography has been translated into 40 different languages.

Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid (born January 14, 1943) is an American biochemist and retired NASA astronaut. She has flown in space five times, including a prolonged mission aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1996, and is the only American woman to have stayed on Mir. From 1996 to 2007, Lucid held the record for the longest duration spent in space by an American and by a woman. She was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in December 1996, making her the tenth person and the first woman to be accorded the honor. Lucid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where she earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1963, a master's degree in biochemistry in 1970, and a PhD in biochemistry in 1973. She was a laboratory technician at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation from 1964 to 1966, a research chemist at Kerr-McGee from 1966 to 1968, and a research associate at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation from 1973 to 1978. In 1978, Lucid was recruited by NASA for astronaut training with NASA Astronaut Group 8, the first class of astronauts to include women. She flew in space five times: on STS-51-G, STS-34, STS-43, STS-58, and her mission to Mir, for which Lucid traveled to the space station on Space Shuttle Atlantis with STS-76 and returned six months later with STS-79. She was the NASA Chief Scientist from 2002 to 2003 and a capsule communicator (CAPCOM) at Mission Control for numerous Space Shuttle missions, including STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle program. Lucid announced her retirement from NASA in 2012. Shannon Wells was born in Shanghai, Republic of China, on January 14, 1943, the daughter of Joseph Oscar Wells, a Baptist missionary, and his wife Myrtle, a missionary nurse. Due to America's ongoing war with Japan, when she was six weeks old, the family was detained by the Japanese, who had occupied Shanghai at the time. The three of them were imprisoned in an internment camp but were released during a prisoner exchange later that year. They returned to the United States on the Swedish ocean liner MS Gripsholm and stayed in the US until the end of the war. After the war ended, the family returned to China but decided to leave again after the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949. They moved to Lubbock, Texas, and then settled in Bethany, Oklahoma, the family's original hometown, where Wells graduated from Bethany High School in 1960. She was fascinated by stories of the American frontier and wanted to become an explorer. She concluded that she had been born too late for this, but discovered the works of Robert Goddard, the American rocket scientist, and decided that she could become a space explorer. Wells sold her bicycle to buy a telescope so she could look at the stars, and began building her own rockets. Shortly after graduating from high school, Wells earned her private pilot's license with instrument and multi-engine ratings and bought a preowned Piper PA-16 Clipper that she used to fly her father to revival meetings. She applied for jobs as a commercial pilot, but was rejected, as women were not yet accepted for training as commercial pilots in the United States. Wells attended Wheaton College in Illinois, where she majored in chemistry. She then transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where she earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1963. She was a teaching assistant in the University of Oklahoma's Department of Chemistry from 1963 to 1964 and a senior laboratory technician at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, from 1964 to 1966. She then became a research chemist at Kerr-McGee, an oil company there. At Kerr-McGee she met Michael F. Lucid, a fellow research chemist. They married in 1967, and their first child, Kawai Dawn, was born in 1968. Afterward, Lucid left Kerr-McGee and returned to the University of Oklahoma as graduate assistant in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where she pursued a master's degree in biochemistry. She sat for her final examinations two days after the birth of her second daughter, Shandara Michelle, in 1970. She went on to earn her PhD in biochemistry in 1973, writing her thesis on the Effect of Cholera Toxin on Phosphorylation and Kinase Activity of Intestinal Epithelial Cells and Their Brush Borders under the supervision of A. Chadwick Cox. She then returned to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation as a research associate. A third child, Michael Kermit, was born in 1975. On July 8, 1976, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issued a call for applications for at least 15 pilot candidates and 15 mission specialist candidates. For the first time, new selections would be considered astronaut candidates rather than fully-fledged astronauts until they finished training and evaluation, which was expected to take two years. The enactment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 reinforced the promise of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to address the persistent and entrenched employment discrimination against women, African Americans and minority groups in American society. While they had never been explicitly precluded from becoming NASA astronauts, none had ever been selected either. This time, minorities and women were encouraged to apply. Lucid's was one of the first of 8,079 applications received. As one of 208 finalists, Lucid was invited to come to the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, for a week of interviews, evaluations and examinations, commencing on August 29, 1977. She was part of the third group of twenty applicants to be interviewed, and the first one that included women. The eight women in the group included Rhea Seddon, Anna Sims, Nitza Cintron and Millie Hughes-Wiley. On January 16, 1978, NASA announced the names of the 35 successful candidates, of whom 20 were mission specialist candidates. Of the six women in this first class with female astronauts, Lucid was the only one who was a mother at the time of being selected. George Abbey, the Director of Flight Crew Operations at JSC and the chairman of the selection panel, later stated that this was not taken into consideration during the selection process. Group 8's name for itself was "TFNG". The abbreviation was deliberately ambiguous; for public purposes, it stood for "Thirty-Five New Guys", but within the group itself, it was known to stand for the military phrase, "the fucking new guy", used to denote newcomers to a military unit. Much of the first eight months of their training was in the classroom. Because there were so many of them, the TFNGs did not fit easily into the existing classrooms, so for classroom instruction they were split into two groups, red and blue, led by Rick Hauck and John Fabian respectively. Classroom training was given on a wide variety of subjects, including an introduction to the Space Shuttle program, space flight engineering, astronomy, orbital mechanics, ascent and entry aerodynamics and space flight physiology. Those accustomed to military and academic environments were surprised that subjects were taught, but not tested. Training in geology, a feature of the training of earlier classes, was continued, but the locations visited changed because the focus was now on observations of the Earth rather than the Moon. Astronaut candidates had to complete survival training, be able to swim and scuba dive, and master the basics of aviation safety, as well as the specifics of the spacecraft they would have to fly. Water survival training was conducted with the 3613th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida and parasail training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. On August 31, 1979, NASA announced that the 35 astronaut candidates had completed their training and evaluation, and were now officially astronauts, qualified for selection on space flight crews. Their training, which had been expected to last eighteen to twenty-four months, had been completed in fourteen. That of subsequent classes was shortened to twelve months. Each of the new astronauts specialized in certain aspects of the Space Shuttle program, providing astronaut support and input. Lucid was involved with Spacelab 1 crew training, and the development of the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) at JSC and Rockwell International's Flight Systems Laboratory (FSL) in Downey, California. She also worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and rendezvous proximity operations. She was at Edwards Air Force Base as a member of the exchange crew for the landing of the STS-5 mission in November 1982. The exchange crew took over from the flight crew after they had landed, and handled the post-flight activities. She was an astronaut support person (ASP) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for the STS-8 mission in August 1983. Also known as a "Cape Crusader", an ASP was an astronaut who supported vehicle and payload testing at KSC, and strapped the flight crew into their seats before takeoff. For the STS-41-B mission in February 1984 she was the backup ASP and once again a member of the exchange crew. On November 17, 1983, Lucid was assigned to her first flight, the STS-51-A mission. Tentatively scheduled for October 24, 1984, the mission would be commanded by Daniel Brandenstein, with pilot John O. Creighton and Lucid, Fabian and Steven R. Nagel as mission specialists. She would be the last of the six women in the TFNG group to fly. Due to slippages, the crew was reassigned to the STS-51-D mission in August 1984. This mission had a different payload, and it was scheduled to be launched on March 18, 1985. The mission was scrubbed just three weeks before the launch date. In May 1985 the crew was reassigned to the STS-51-G mission. A French astronaut, Patrick Baudry, and a Saudi Arabian prince, Sultan bin Salman Al Saud were assigned as payload specialists. STS-51-G lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at KSC in the Space Shuttle Discovery on June 17, 1985. The seven-day mission was to deploy three communications satellites: Morelos I for Mexico, Arabsat-1B for the Arab League, and Telstar 303 for the United States. The satellites were launched on successive days during the first three days of the mission. Lucid and Fabian operated the Remote Manipulator System (RMS) to deploy the satellites, which were boosted into geostationary transfer orbits by Payload Assist Module (PAM-D) booster stages. Lucid also used the RMS to deploy the Spartan (Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy) satellite, which performed 17 hours of X-ray astronomy experiments while separated from the Space Shuttle, while Fabian handled its retrieval 45 hours later. In addition to the satellite deployments, the crew activated the Automated Directional Solidification Furnace (ADSF), six Getaway Specials and participated in biomedical experiments. Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California on June 24. The mission was accomplished in 112 orbits of the Earth, traveling 4.7 million kilometers (2.9 million miles) in 169 hours and 39 minutes (just over one week). The publicity tour that usually followed a Space Shuttle mission included a trip to Saudi Arabia. Married women were not permitted to travel to Saudi Arabia without their husband, and Michael Lucid was unavailable, so Lucid decided not to go. A devout Christian, she disapproved of the way Saudi Arabia treated women. When the rest of the crew arrived in Riyadh, her absence was noted. This prompted a call from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to President Ronald Reagan. Lucid went to Saudi Arabia and shook hands with the king, but she stayed for only one day. After the STS-51-G mission, Lucid was assigned to Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) duty. She served as the CAPCOM for the STS-51-J mission in October 1985, the STS-61-A mission in November 1985, STS-61-B mission in November and December 1985, and the STS-61-C mission in January 1986. The January 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster later that month halted Space Shuttle operations for 32 months while NASA conducted investigations and remediation. Flight crews were stood down. One consequence of the disaster was the Galileo project, an unmanned probe to Jupiter, which lost both its launch window and its ride due to the cancelation of the Shuttle-Centaur project. On November 30, 1988, NASA announced that Galileo would be deployed by the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-34 mission, which was scheduled for October 12, 1989. The mission was commanded by Donald E. Williams, with pilot Michael J. McCulley and Lucid, Ellen S. Baker and Franklin Chang-Diaz as mission specialists. The launch was delayed for five days due to a faulty Space Shuttle main engine controller, and then for an additional day due to bad weather. Atlantis lifted off from KSC on October 18. As the lead mission specialist, Lucid was primarily responsible for the Galileo spacecraft, and initiated its deployment by pressing a button to separate Galileo from Atlantis. Galileo was successfully deployed six and a half hours into the flight using the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). As this was much less powerful than the Shuttle-Centaur upper stage, Galileo had to employ a gravity assist from Venus and two from Earth, and it took six years instead of two for the Galileo to reach Jupiter. "Both Ellen and I sighed a great sigh of relief, because we figured Galileo was not our concern at that point, because we'd gotten rid of it," Lucid reported. "Happiness was an empty payload bay and we got happier and happier as the IUS and Galileo went further away from us." The mission also conducted a five-day Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV) experiment carried in the cargo bay, and experiments related to growth hormone crystal distribution (GHCD) and polymer morphology (PM), a sensor technology experiment (STEX), a mesoscale lightning experiment (MLE), a Shuttle Student Involvement Program (SSIP) experiment that investigated ice crystal formation in zero gravity, and a ground-based Air Force Maui Optical Station (AMOS) experiment. Lucid and Chang-Diaz operated the PM experiment, which used a laptop computer to collect two gigabytes of data from an infrared spectrometer to study the effects of microgravity on minerals. The crew filmed their activities with an IMAX camera. The mission completed 79 orbits of the Earth, traveling 3.2 million kilometers (2 million miles) in 119 hours and 39 minutes before landing at Edwards Air Force Base on October 23. In May 1990 NASA announced that Lucid was assigned to the crew of the STS-43 mission, which was scheduled to be flown in Discovery in April 1991. The mission was commanded by John E. Blaha, with Michael A. Baker as the pilot and Lucid, G. David Low, and James C. Adamson as the mission specialists. The objective of the mission was to deploy TDRS-E, a communications satellite that would form part of NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. The launch date was postponed to July 23, and the orbiter was changed to Atlantis. The launch was delayed by a day to replace a faulty integrated electronics assembly that controlled the separation of the orbiter and the external tank, and then the countdown was halted with five hours to go due to a faulty main engine controller, and the launch was postponed to August 1. Unfavorable weather prompted yet another 24-hour delay. Atlantis lifted off on August 2. The crew deployed TDRS-E without incident using the IUS. The crew also conducted 32 physical, material and life science experiments, mostly related to the Extended Duration Orbiter and Space Station Freedom. These included experiments with the Space Station Heat Pipe Advanced Radiator Element II (SHARE II), the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultra-Violet (SSBUV) instrument, Tank Pressure Control Equipment (TPCE), and Optical Communications Through Windows (OCTW). There was also an auroral photography experiment (APE-B), a protein crystal growth experiment, testing of the bioserve / instrumentation technology associates materials dispersion apparatus (BIMDA), investigations into polymer membrane processing (IPMP), the space acceleration measurement system (SAMS), a solid surface combustion experiment (SSCE), use of the ultraviolet plume imager (UVPI); and the Air Force Maui optical site (AMOS) experiment. Atlantis performed 142 orbits of the Earth, traveling 6.0 million kilometers (3.7 million miles) in 213 hours and 21 minutes. STS-43 was the eighth mission to land at KSC, and the first one scheduled to do so since STS-61-C in January 1986. On December 6, 1991, Lucid was assigned to STS-58, the Spacelab Life Sciences 2 (SLS-2) mission. This was the second mission dedicated to the study of human and animal physiology on Earth and in spaceflight. The techniques developed for this flight were intended to be precursors of those to be conducted on the Space Station Freedom and subsequent long-duration space flights. Fellow TFNG Rhea Seddon was designated as the mission payload commander, with David Wolf, like Seddon a medical doctor, as the other mission specialist. Originally scheduled as one mission, the number of Spacelab Life Sciences objectives and experiments had grown until it was split into two missions, the first of which, STS-40/SLS-1, was flown in June 1991. The rest of the crew were not named until August 27, 1992. Blaha was designated the mission commander, with pilot Richard A. Searfoss and William S. McArthur Jr. as a fourth mission specialist. A payload specialist, Martin J. Fettman, was assigned to the mission on October 29. The Space Shuttle Columbia with SLS-2 on board lifted off from KSC on October 18, 1993. During the fourteen-day flight the crew performed neurovestibular, cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, metabolic and musculoskeletal medical experiments on themselves and 48 rats. The crew investigated the phenomenon of bone density loss. They also studied the effects of microgravity on their sensory perception, and the mechanism of space adaptation syndrome. To study this, on the second day of the mission Lucid and Fettman wore headsets, known as accelerometer recording units, which recorded their head movements during the day. Along with Seddon, Wolf and Fettman, Lucid collected blood and urine samples from the crew for metabolic experiments. They also drew blood from the tails of the rats to measure how weightlessness affected their red blood cell counts. They performed sixteen engineering tests aboard Columbia and twenty Extended Duration Orbiter Medical Project experiments. The mission completed 225 orbits of the Earth, traveling five million miles in 336 hours, 13 minutes and 1 second. Landing was at Edwards Air Force Base, California. On completion of this flight, Lucid had logged 838 hours and 54 minutes in space. In 1992 the United States and Russia reached an agreement on cooperation in space so that Russian cosmonauts could fly on the Space Shuttles, and American astronauts on the Russian Mir space station. The prospect of a long stay on Mir was not one calculated to appeal to most astronauts: they had to learn Russian and train at Star City for a year to spend several months on board Mir carrying out science experiments with Russian cosmonauts. "I was wondering what it would be like to spend a long period of time in space," Lucid later recalled. "I told everybody I wanted to do it, and they couldn't find anybody else who had volunteered. So they said: 'Well OK, go do it.'" In January 1995 Lucid and Blaha joined fellow astronauts Bonnie Dunbar and Norman Thagard for Mir training in Star City. On March 30, 1995, NASA announced that Lucid would be the second astronaut to stay aboard Mir, after Thagard, who arrived on the space station on March 16. Lucid's mission to Mir commenced on March 22, 1996, with liftoff from KSC aboard Atlantis on the STS-76 mission. Atlantis docked with Mir on March 24, and Lucid became the first American woman to live on the station. She joined cosmonauts Yuri Onufriyenko and Yuri Usachov, neither of whom spoke English. During the course of her stay aboard Mir, Lucid performed numerous life science and physical science experiments. She lit candles to study the behavior of fire in a microgravity environment; studied the way that quail embryos developed in their shells; grew protein crystals; and cultivated wheat in a tiny greenhouse. She injected herself with an immune system stimulant and collected blood and saliva samples to study the effects of microgravity on the immune system. In her free time, she read books. One novel she enjoyed immensely was The Mirror of Her Dreams, but she reached the end only to find that it ended on a cliffhanger. "I floated there, alone in Spectra, in stunned disbelief, holding only volume one," she later recalled. "I was stranded, the impossibility of running to the local bookstore forefront in my mind ... How could my daughter have done this to me? Who would send only one volume of a two-volume set to her mother in space?" She arranged for the second volume to be sent on the next Progress resupply freighter. She left her books on Mir for later astronaut visitors, but they became inaccessible after the Progress M-34 collision in June 1997. Thagard had warned Lucid about the Russians' fondness for jellied fish and borscht. She brought a supply of M&M's and jello with her, and lived on a combination of Russian and American food. Lucid's return journey to KSC was made aboard Atlantis. The STS-79 mission docked with Mir on September 18, bringing Blaha as her relief, and landed back at KSC on September 26, 1996. One of the catches that released her helmet from the neck ring became stuck, and technicians had to use pliers and a screwdriver to remove it. During her stay on Mir, Lucid had spent nearly 400 hours exercising on a stationary bicycle and a treadmill, and was able to stand and walk off Atlantis. Administrator of NASA Daniel Goldin presented her with a giftwrapped box of M&M's, a gift from President Bill Clinton, since she had told him that she craved them. In completing this mission Lucid traveled 121.0 million kilometers (75.2 million miles) in 188 days, 4 hours, 0 minutes. This included 179 days on Mir. Her stay on Mir was not expected to last so long but her return was delayed twice, extending her stay by about six weeks. As a result of her time aboard Mir, she held the record for the most hours in orbit by a non-Russian, and most hours in orbit by a woman until June 16, 2007, when her record for longest duration spaceflight by a woman was exceeded by Sunita Williams on the International Space Station. Lucid had a short cameo in the 1998 film Armageddon. From 2002 to 2003, she served as Chief Scientist of NASA. Starting in 2005, she served as lead CAPCOM on the Planning (overnight) shift at the Mission Control for sixteen Space Shuttle missions, including STS-135, the final mission. On January 31, 2012, she announced her retirement from NASA. Lucid retired from NASA to take care of her husband Mike, who had dementia. He died on December 25, 2014. She later wrote about this experience in her book No Sugar Added: One Family's Saga of Dementia and Caretaking (2019). She wrote about her experiences on Mir in Tumbleweed: Six Months Living on Mir (2020). Lucid was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in December 1996 (for her mission to Mir), making her the tenth person and first woman to be given this honor. She was also awarded the NASA Space Flight Medal in 1985, 1989 (twice), 1991, 1993 and 1996; the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1988, 1990, 1992 and 2003 (twice); and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1994 and 1997. She was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1990, the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 1993, the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1998, and the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2002 Discover magazine recognized her as one of the fifty most important women in science. Lucid, Shannon (2019). No Sugar Added: One Family's Saga of Dementia and Caretaking. Vista, California: MkEk Publishing. ISBN 978-0-578-49541-5. Lucid, Shannon (2020). Tumbleweed: Six Months Living on Mir. Vista, California: MkEk Publishing. ISBN 978-0-578-67109-3. The Incredible Shannon Lucid This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

Photo of Liu Yang

3. Liu Yang (b. 1978)

With an HPI of 45.19, Liu Yang is the 3rd most famous Chinese Astronaut.  Her biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Liu Yang (Chinese: 刘洋; pinyin: Liú Yáng; born 6 October 1978) is a Chinese military transport pilot and taikonaut. On 16 June 2012, Yang became the first Chinese woman in space, as a crew member of Shenzhou 9.

Photo of Taylor Wang

4. Taylor Wang (b. 1940)

With an HPI of 45.11, Taylor Wang is the 4th most famous Chinese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Taylor Gun-Jin Wang (simplified Chinese: 王赣骏; traditional Chinese: 王贛駿; pinyin: Wáng Gànjùn; born June 16, 1940) is a Chinese-born American scientist and in 1985, became the first person of Chinese origin to go into space. While an employee of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wang was a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Challenger mission STS-51-B.

Photo of Fei Junlong

5. Fei Junlong (b. 1965)

With an HPI of 43.64, Fei Junlong is the 5th most famous Chinese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Major general Fei Junlong (Chinese: 费俊龙; pinyin: Fèi Jùnlóng; born 5 May 1965) is a Chinese military pilot and taikonaut. He was the commander of Shenzhou 6, the second crewed spaceflight of China's space program, and was selected as commander for the Shenzhou 15 mission to the Tiangong space station.

Photo of Nie Haisheng

6. Nie Haisheng (b. 1964)

With an HPI of 43.48, Nie Haisheng is the 6th most famous Chinese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Nie Haisheng (born 13 October 1964) is a major general of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) in active service as an taikonaut and the third commander (unit chief) of the PLA Astronaut Corps (PLAAC). He was a PLA Air Force fighter pilot and director of navigation. Nie flew on Shenzhou 6 and served as commander on both the Shenzhou 10 and Shenzhou 12 missions, the latter of which became the first crew to visit the Tiangong space station. In 2021, with a combined 111 days in space, he set a new record for longest stay in space by a Chinese astronaut, becoming the first to exceed 100 days and is one of only two Chinese astronauts to have flown three times.

Photo of Jing Haipeng

7. Jing Haipeng (b. 1966)

With an HPI of 41.66, Jing Haipeng is the 7th most famous Chinese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Jing Haipeng (simplified Chinese: 景海鹏; traditional Chinese: 景海鵬; pinyin: Jǐng Hǎipéng; born 24 October 1966) is a major general of the People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) in active service as a vice-commander of the 82nd Group Army. A fighter pilot in the PLA Air Force (PLAAF), he was selected to be a PLA Astronaut Corps (PLAAC) astronaut in 1998. He was the first Chinese astronaut to have flown on more than one mission and remains the only one to have flown on four (Shenzhou 7, Shenzhou 9, Shenzhou 11, Shenzhou 16). He also held the Chinese record for longest time spent in space from 2016 to 2021 (47 days) and again from 2023 (201 days), until his record was overtaken by Tang Hongbo in February 2024.

Photo of Liu Boming

8. Liu Boming (b. 1966)

With an HPI of 41.56, Liu Boming is the 8th most famous Chinese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Liu Boming (simplified Chinese: 刘伯明; traditional Chinese: 劉伯明; pinyin: Liú Bómíng; born September 17, 1966) is a major general in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Strategic Support Force (PLASSF). A fighter pilot in the PLA Air Force (PLAAF), he was selected into the PLA Astronaut Corps (PLAAC) in 1998. A Shenzhou 7 veteran, he also worked on the Tiangong space station during the Shenzhou 12 mission from June to September 2021. With a combined total of three EVA's performed, he spent some 13 hours walking in space which is currently the record by a Chinese astronaut.

Photo of Liu Wang

9. Liu Wang (b. 1969)

With an HPI of 39.21, Liu Wang is the 9th most famous Chinese Astronaut.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Liu Wang (simplified Chinese: 刘旺; traditional Chinese: 劉旺, born 25 March 1969) is a Chinese pilot selected as part of the Shenzhou program.

Photo of Wang Yaping

10. Wang Yaping (b. 1980)

With an HPI of 38.27, Wang Yaping is the 10th most famous Chinese Astronaut.  Her biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Wang Yaping (Chinese: 王亚平; pinyin: Wáng Yàpíng; born January 1980) is a Chinese military transport pilot and taikonaut. Wang was the second female taikonaut selected to the People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps, the second Chinese woman in space, and the first Chinese woman to perform a spacewalk. In April 2022, she set a new record for longest stay in space by a female Chinese astronaut with a cumulative 197 days in space.


Pantheon has 13 people classified as Chinese astronauts born between 1940 and 1980. Of these 13, 13 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Chinese astronauts include Yang Liwei, Shannon Lucid, and Liu Yang. As of April 2024, 1 new Chinese astronauts have been added to Pantheon including Tang Hongbo.

Living Chinese Astronauts

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Newly Added Chinese Astronauts (2024)

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