Dr. Yuan-Chyau “Harry” Chang


Dr. Yuan-Chyau “Harry” Chang, 73, passed away on November 7 in Houston, Texas.  He was born in Guilin, China to Kuo-Jih and Chun-Wu Chang.  He is survived by:  his wife, Li-tung; daughter, Kay; son, Karl; sister, Jennifer; brothers, Yuan-Yao and James; grandson Owen; and many other family and friends.  

Harry earned his B.S. from National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan in 1965.  He earned his M.S. in 1971 and his Ph.D in physics in from the University of Houston in 1976.  Harry worked for more thirty years as an aerospace engineer in support of the Space Shuttle program, starting in 1976 at Rockwell International.  He worked for 21 years at NASA, Johnson Space Center (JSC) in the Thermal Design Branch of the Structural Engineering Division of the Engineering Directorate.  He supported Space Shuttle missions STS-1 through STS-122, and received many awards, including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Silver Snoopy Award, the JSC Director’s Commendation, and, on his retirement in 2008, the JSC Engineering Legacy Award.  His colleagues, friends, and family knew him as a devoted civil servant, husband, and father, and as an extraordinarily thorough and reliable man.

 A memorial service will be held on Sunday, November 15 at 2:30 pm at the Crowder Funeral Home at 111 E. Medical Center Blvd., Webster, TX 77598.



  1. Dr. Harry Chang made great contribution to NASA and the Space Shuttle program. He had great respect for “America’s Treasure” and worked long hours to ensure the Orbiter was always in a good place thermally. Working with Harry for over 15 years, I learned valuable things from him, as did anyone who worked with him can attest. He knew the harsh environments of space and was always thinking about the next failure to make sure the Orbiter wasn’t in an untenable situation thermally. He always gave his wife the credit she deserved for supporting him and ensuring his children had a good education. He will be missed.

    Dan Reynolds
  2. My sincere condolences to the Chang family. I worked with Dr. Chang for many years and knew him since his days when he worked at Rockwell Space Division and through his service with NASA/JSC. Dr. Chang was a dedicated engineer who was persistent to understand and resolve many complex technical issues. His integrity, knowledge, support, and managerial skills were admired and respected by those who worked with him. These attributes of Dr. Chang were experienced personally during my career with the Space Shuttle Program. He will be missed, but take solace, that Harry will always be remembered fondly by those privileged to have known him.

    Faustino Garcia
  3. I was Harry’s deputy for a few years and was in this position at the time of the Columbia accident. I would like to reiterate what I am sure that you have heard from many which is Harry’s full and sincere commitment to the Orbiter Program and the thermal control system specifically. Harry was truly dedicated to the success of the Program, and every single person in the Orbiter or Shuttle Program who knew Harry had the utmost trust in him. Harry was there from the beginning to the end of the Program, and it is without doubt that its success is a result of the dedication of individuals like Harry. His family should be very proud.

    I would also note that Harry is the only person that I personally knew that fled communist China for Taiwan. His culture and his family meant much to him. Harry most definitely had a complete life.

    Andy Hong
  4. It was an honor and a privilege to have worked with Dr. Harry Chang on the NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter Thermal Control System (TCS). Dr. Chang was a most dedicated man in all aspects of his life and the consummate scientist/engineer when it came to covering every detail of an engineering analysis. Harry always referred to the NASA Space Shuttle as “America’s Treasure” and it was with great pride that he approached his responsibility for this “treasure” every day. I do not think anyone who ever worked with Harry will forget the tiny metal Space Shuttle Orbiter that he took out of his briefcase on many an occasion, particularly in meetings, to illustrate the various attitudes as he explained the particular orbital environment he was discussing as he explained a problem or a solution. Harry was proud of his wife and his children and mentioned them often. Harry approached every aspect of his life with dedication and pride and will be very much missed. Harry was a dear friend and colleague.

    Charles A. Ritrivi
  5. It was truly humbling to know and work with Dr. Harry Chang. He knew the Orbiter thermal control system through and through and I’m sure the astronauts took comfort in knowing and relying on Dr. Chang’s expertise while they were in orbit. Dr. Chang was a consummate professional, truly brilliant. It was indeed a privilege to work on wireless temperature sensors because I knew they would help Dr. Chang in his work. God speed Dr. Chang! Your legacy lives on!!

    John Saiz

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