Chapter 590: Chief Consultant of the Moon Project
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
There was a huge demand for energy in China, but there wasnt a demand for aerospace.
Even if the success of the controllable fusion project could save the country more than 2 trillion yuan per year, this money wouldnt be placed into aerospace projects.
Where the money would be spent and what kind of effects it would bring, these all had to go through a rigorous decision-making process.
Especially with rocket recycling technology, space launching costs were not what they used to be.
Taking the launch of a low-Earth orbit satellite as an example, Space-Xs Falcon rocket was able to achieve a price of US$1,141 per kilogram. Compared this to NASAs design of the Delta 4 rocket in the 1990s, which had a cost of US$11,660 per kilogram. The cost had been cut by nearly ten times.
The launching cost of the Chinese quick-reaction Kuaizhou rocket, which was the most commercially advantageous rocket in the world, had dropped from US$10,000 per kilogram to about US$5,000 per kilogram.
If a manned mission to the moon required a spacecraft with a mass of around 50 tons to be sent into low-Earth orbit, ignore the fact that the spacecraft wasnt a satellite and couldnt be separated into ten different launches, the launch cost could theoretically be restricted to around US$250.
Therefore, if they only needed to go to the moon, there was no point in inventing a feasible mass driver.
However, Lu Zhou didnt only want to send people to the moon and erect a flag. He wanted to establish a permanent scientific research station on the moon or even a resource mining base.
Due to this long-term goal, it was quite necessary to find a theoretical lower-cost way to transfer mass into low-Earth orbit.
If people kept using chemically powered rockets, when the number of launches reached the five-figure range, space exploration would transform from a scientific research field to an industrial field. The costs would be astronomical, and there would be environmental consequences.
Rocket fuel, which was made out of dinitrogen tetroxide and dimethylhydrazine, was indeed poisonous.
However, Lu Zhou also knew very well that it would be impossible to convince the higher-ups of this trillion-dollar project, especially since there wasnt an urgent need for aerospace projects.
However, he believed that once he produced enough results, his case would be more convincing.
The conference was divided into two parts. There was an intermission announced at noon. After everyone ate a simple lunch, they would continue the conference at half-past one.
The afternoon part of the conference was mainly centered around researchers and engineers. The content of the discussion was more focused on the technical side.
During the meeting, representatives from major research units spoke enthusiastically and put forward their own viewpoints.
In addition to the Aerospace Science and Technology Corporations concept of the Long March 9 rocket, many other people had also come up with interesting technical ideas.
For example, high-level researchers at the Space Science and Applied Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences showed a concept model of the mass drive ion thruster. The acceleration technology concept was different from Lu Zhous idea, but nevertheless, it was still a very interesting idea.
Lu Zhou didnt talk a lot at this conference; he only briefly spoke about his idea of the Hall-effect thruster.
Some of this was purely his own opinion, and some were inspirations that he managed to glean while talking to researchers of the AF-MPD project team during his time as a consultant at the PPPL.
He thought his opinion was already sci-fi and experimental. He did not expect that some peoples opinions were even more sci-fi than his. Someone even brought up the concept of an EM Drive.
In fact, EM Drive wasnt entirely fictional. NASA had done research in this area, and these theses could even be found on arXiv.
After all, no one had any idea what was possible in the future. Even the most outstanding scholar couldnt make any absolute assertions of the future, even for things that might seem impossible.
But in any case, this EM Drive technology was something in the distant future; it didnt belong in this conference.
Everyone laughed at the concept and didnt pay too much attention to it.
There wasnt any prohibition in a seminar like this. It was a free-for-all. Anyone could say anything, there wasnt anyone that stood against a technical route.
As for which technical route would be implemented, that would depend on the result.
During the middle of the year, there would be a meeting to discuss which heavy-duty spacecraft would be used for the moon landing plan.
Whether it was a rocket or a space shuttle, anyone that could deliver at least 30 tons of payload from the earth to the moon and safely come back, had the hope of winning the bid.
The most promising spacecraft seemed to be the Long March 9.
However, the earliest possible flight time would be in 2028. Even without any delays, that was eight years away.
The state might wish to complete the manned mission to the moon within five years, in order to achieve the strategic goal of putting pressure on the United States and Europe. Therefore, the Long March 9, which was still stuck in the design stage, would probably miss the battle.
Any other company that could create a low-cost solution in a short time frame would be a competitive bidder.
As for whether Lu Zhou should join in on this moon landing party
He hadnt made up his mind yet.
He was only in the research stage of ion thrusters. Even if he could reverse engineer the debris, he might not be able to use it on Earths atmospheric environment.
What if this piece of debris was some kind of component on a space station? It might not be able to break through Earths atmosphere and launch into orbit.
This was all possible.
In short, before he was certain of his abilities to achieve this technology, he would not make any promises and only express his viewpoints. As for the bidding war, he probably wouldnt participate
After the conference ended, Lu Zhou walked out of the venue.
He suddenly discovered that there was a huge crowd surrounding the venue.
Looking at the cameras and microphones, these people were undoubtedly reporters.
When the representatives from Penguin and Alibaba stepped out of the venue, the reporters swarmed like a group of sharks that smelled blood.
When Lu Zhou looked at these reporters, he couldnt help but flinch. Just as he felt lucky enough not to be surrounded by reporters, suddenly, a reporter noticed him and quickly ran toward him.
Even though Wang Peng was standing in front of him, the microphone was still shoved in his face.
Professor Lu, hello, we are reporters from the CTV technology channel. I heard you were the one who proposed the manned moon landing project?
Professor Lu, hello, we are reporters from the Penguin technology channel, there are rumors online that China will soon achieve space travel, what do you think?
Rumors say that you are the chief designer of the aerospace project, is this true?
Lu Zhou had a headache from all of the questions, but he couldnt find a way to escape. He quickly grabbed the closest microphone and angrily said, Its not true.
Reporter: Uh then, may I ask
Lu Zhou took a deep breath and said, The launch of the manned moon project isnt entirely due to my suggestion, its also because the country has a strategic demand. As for the chief designer of the project, I dont know where you heard this rumor, but as far as I know, the relevant departments have only invited me as a chief consultant.
Secretary Xu, who was standing next to him, smiled and said, Chief consultant.
These two short words completely shocked the reporters