An Astronaut’s Heroes

Question: Who are your heroes?

Leroy Chiao: My heroes? Well, you know, the early astronauts, certainly. I remember as a kid following their missions and being so impressed by what they were doing. But my parents too, they were both immigrants, both originally from China. They both individually left the mainland during the communist takeover in 1949, there in the late '40's, early '50's, and they met each other in Taiwan, they worked hard. They weren't from wealthy families. They worked hard and got degrees in school and immigrated to the United States to go to graduate school and they built a life here.

And if you look at what they've done, gosh, I would say I was lucky that there was a large amount of luck to be selected to be an astronaut, and they did all they did through hard work. I mean, I worked hard too, but I look at what they did and it was really an accomplishment

 Recorded December 16, 2009

Leroy Chiao looks up to Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong but he also admires his parents who immigrated from China and finally settled in the Midwest.

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