Chapter 588: The Shortcut for Overtaking
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The control terminal for the industrial robots was connected to Xiao Ais server. After Lu Zhou told Xiao Ai not to mess around with the underground laboratory without permission, he left the laboratory.
The list that Xiao Ai gave him didnt contain materials that were difficult to get; Lu Zhou didnt even have to search online for them.
After Lu Zhou placed an order in the name of the Institute of Computational Materials, he moved the materials to the underground laboratory.
Xiao Ai didnt even say thanks. It immediately began to start tinkering with its new toys.
Lu Zhou was standing on the side, and he watched Xiao Ai operate the six-axis mechanical arm skillfully. It opened the toolbox and pulled out a hammer, then the arm picked up an aluminum alloy plate that was sent from an automated guided vehicle(AGV). After that, it began to start banging on the aluminum plate with the hammer.
Lu Zhou looked at the mindless operation and didnt know what Xiao Ai was doing.
His eyebrows twitched when he heard the banging sound, but after a bit of thinking, he decided to let it be. After he told Xiao Ai not to break anything, he turned around and left the laboratory.
He had to go to a meeting in Beijing in a couple of days, and he didnt have time to bother with this.
Lu Zhou just hoped that when he was back, Xiao Ai wouldnt turn his laboratory upside down
Morning of the 6th of March.
A red banner was hung at the entrance of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, welcoming the attendees of the moon landing seminar.
The organizers and participants of this conference all came from special backgrounds, so the topics discussed at the seminar was bound to be important. Security measurements had been taken; all the way from the school gate to the school auditorium.
Two young ladies curiously looked at the explosion-resistant police car parked on the asphalt road as they chatted while walking past the library.
Is there someone important surveying the campus?
I dont think so, apparently its a manned moon landing conference or something.
Manned moon landing? The tall girl was confused, and she asked, When are we able to put people on the moon?
I dont know Maybe because we cant, so thats why theyre having a meeting about how to send someone up there.
Suddenly, they heard a gentle voice.
Hello, how do I get to the school auditorium?
The two ladies stopped walking.
The taller girl looked at the guy and asked, Are you attending the conference?
Lu Zhou nodded and said, Yeah, I guess so.
The taller girl pointed to the road on the right and said, Go straight along this road and turn right at the second intersection.
Lu Zhou looked toward the direction she pointed and said thank you. The more petite girl suddenly asked, Wait a second, are you God Lu?!
Lu Zhou was a little shocked at her excitement, and he awkwardly smiled.
Just call me Lu Zhou or Professor Lu.
He didnt expect to meet his Weibo fans in real life, what a coincidence.
The petite girl stared at him excitedly and said, The auditorium is quite far from here, you might not be able to find it. How about I take you there!
Seeing how enthusiastic she was, Lu Zhou couldnt help but say, Theres no need for that, I can just walk there myself.
He thanked the two people and turned around, walking along the road the girl had previously pointed.
The petite girl looked at Lu Zhou walking away and said with emotion, Its actually God Lu!
Suddenly, she had a look of regret on her face. Ah! I forgot to ask for his signature!
The tall girl was speechless. Whats the point of having his signature?
Do you really need to ask this? Its so that I wont fail my classes!
Lu Zhou walked along the road and quickly found the auditorium without much effort.
He presented his conference card and passed through the security check. He then walked into the venue.
He looked at the logos in the venue and saw the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, two major state-owned aerospace companies. He also saw the three giant tech companiesBaidu, Alibaba, and Tencentand various other private high-tech enterprises.
The once unpopular private aerospace companies were affected by Space-X. It became more popular than ever.
Even though aerospace-related technologies were basically monopolized by the two major state-owned enterprises, the promotion of military-civilian integration had become a national strategy over the past few years. The government had also created relevant policies to support this strategy.
For example, the first Chinese private space company, OneSpace, or Penguins Satellogic, or the Tmall international communication satellite and Candy Pot mini space station that Alibaba was expected to launch. The aerospace exploration of private enterprises was gradually becoming more and more important.
For innovating technologies in an advanced field, the performance of private enterprises was indeed better than that of state-owned enterprises.
Because this was clearly the case, the higher-ups had been progressively freeing the aerospace market, allowing private enterprises to participate.
Lu Zhou was about to find a place to sit down when he suddenly heard someone shout his name.
Lu Zhou stopped his footsteps and looked behind him. He saw a man in his fifties wearing a suit while walking toward him with a smile.
Lu Zhou looked at him for a while and remembered his name.
Xu Yuanming, second-in-command at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
He talked to this person before, at the controllable fusion commendation ceremony.
Secretary Xu? Lu Zhou smiled and shook his hand as he said, I havent seen you in a long time.
Haha, its only been two months. Xu Yuanming enthusiastically shook Lu Zhous hand and smiled. He then said, The conference is about to begin, lets head on over there first.
Lu Zhou walked with Xu Yuanming toward the auditorium.
Through talking with Secretary Xu, Lu Zhou gained a rudimentary understanding of the current Chinese aerospace situation.
The part he cared the most was the budget.
Overall, the situation didnt look good.
At present, the Chinese Aerospace budget was only about US$2 billion per year, and this was the budget aggregate of the Long March, Beidou, Sui, Shenzhou, Tianzhou, and other domestic rocket projects.
Back in the day, the total cost of the United States Apollo program reached a staggering US$22.5 billion, accounting for 0.57% of the US GDP at that time! It wasnt easy to calculate how much the US$22.5 billion would be worth in todays dollars, but back then, US$22 billion would be more than enough to build a fleet of aircraft carriers.
This was how expensive aerospace programs were.
Not to mention, there were other underlying aspects that money couldnt solve, like various technical problems
Secretary Xu sat next to Lu Zhou.
After they sat down, he slowly said, We are not inferior to the west in terms of small rockets, but theres still a big gap between us and the United States and Russia, in terms of the carrying capacity for large rockets.
The long-range orbit carrying capacity of the Long March 5 is 25 tons, only 18 tons for the synchronous orbit, and only about 8 tons for the earth-moon transfer orbit. The take-off weight of our Shenzhou 11 manned spacecraft is already 8 tons. Considering the fact that the moon landing spacecraft must be redesigned for the moons magnetic field environment, it must carry at least an additional 3 tons of components and more than 5 tons of living space. The final weight of the entire moon landing spacecraft will exceed 20 tons.
With our current rocket technology, it would be impossible to complete a manned moon landing.
Lu Zhou nodded thoughtfully.
Rocket engines were a whole different field, it wasnt something that could be solved overnight.
He suddenly had an idea.
Why dont you consider ion thrusters?
Ion thruster? Xu Yuanming paused for a second and shook his head as he said, The ion thruster barely has any power. It might be able to change the orbit path, but theres no way it can launch a spacecraft into orbit.
Lu Zhou said, We can build an electromagnetically accelerated land-based mass transmitter on the ground, and use that to send unmanned parts to low-Earth orbit. Then, we push it to the moon using a plasma engine.
Because the controllable fusion power generator was already built, the cost of electricity wouldnt be too high. Even though this sounded like science fiction, it was technically possible.
After all, the United States was even thinking about using a cannon to shoot satellites into space
Xu Yuanming: Then how will astronauts go up?
Lu Zhou: They can get on board from the space station.
Even though China didnt have the ability to send people on the moon, they could send people into the space station with no problem.
Xu Yuanming was shocked by this proposal. He went silent for a while before saying, This sounds interesting, but its also a bit too ridiculous.
Lu Zhou smiled and didnt deny his claim.
How can we achieve anything without some imagination?
Xu Yuanming wasnt a professional engineer. He only knew a little about aerospace engineering due to his job. Therefore, he didnt discuss the technical side with Lu Zhou.
He paused for a second before he continued, As of now, our strategic focus is still on the construction of cross-regional power grids and controllable fusion generators. The upper management thinks its more important to be down to earth and focus on the current problems rather than the problems of a distant future.
A lot of people have proposed to postpone the moon landing project until 2030. However, the leadership team values your opinion. Therefore, they decided to come up with a compromised plan.
Lu Zhou asked, Compromised plan?
Secretary Xu smirked and didnt explain anything. He looked at the stage and said, The conference is about to begin, they will discuss the matter in a moment. Just keep your ears open.