Qi Faren was revealed to be the chief designer for Chinese spacecraft after the launch of the prototype Shenzhou manned spacecraft in 1999. He was born in 1933 and graduated from the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1957. He was among the group of students sent to the Soviet Union in 1958-1960 for training in rocketry. Qi participated in the research and design of China's first satellite - the Dongfanghong-1, which was successfully placed into orbit in 1970. He was appointed the general designer of China's spacecraft in 1992, following the retirement of Tsien Hsue-Shen, the father of Chinese spaceflight. During the following seven years, Qi directed and coordinated a thousand-strong team in development of the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft.
Qi Faren, the General Designer of the Shenzhou had participated in the design of China's first satellite and was appointed the general designer of Chinese spacecraft in 1992. During the ensuing seven years, Qi directed and co-ordinated his thousand-strong team to '...make a breakthrough in China's manned space travel technology. We are now losing no time in furthering our research. We plan to send humans into space as soon as possible'.