644Things Went Wrong
The army was quite efficient.
The phone call was made in the morning and the delivery truck arrived at the Institute for Advanced Study in the afternoon.
These two engineers came all the way to Jinling only to look at these three untouchable shipping containers. Yang Zhongquan was enraged; he almost wanted to skin Lu Zhou alive.
He couldnt help but question Lu Zhou, Why the hell would you need high precision machine tools for your tiny laboratory. Are you building a particle collider or something?
Lu Zhou replied impolitely as well, Then why the hell would you need high precision machine tools for your factory? Are you going to disassemble them and play with them like Lego?
Yang Zhongquan nearly vomited blood.
Wang Peng was standing nearby watching this unfold. He wanted to persuade Lu Zhou to calm down, but he didnt know what to do. Therefore, he decided to keep his mouth shut.
In the afternoon, the executives from the State Administration for National Defense finally came over.
A black sedan parked at the front entrance. Director Li quickly got out of the car. He and Lu Zhou went into another lounge.
Professor Lu, that batch of machines is very important to us.
Lu Zhou smiled and said, Is aerospace not important?
No, thats not what I meant. Aerospace is the future of China, of course its important from a long term perspective, its very important! Not to mention, youre the chief consultant of the moon landing project, so I understand what youre feeling!
Lu Zhou sipped his coffee and didnt say anything.
Director Li sipped some tea to moisturize his throat. He then said with a sincere tone, But you also know, that in addition to long term issues, we also have to think about the short term. Our industrial revolution began late, thus were more than 15 years behind from the Germans and the Japanese. Especially in key areas of national defense like engines and submarines. Theres still a big gap between us and the western countries.
Chinese machine tools had their own advantages, such as being relatively low cost, which almost made foreign low-end machine tools unprofitable. However, when it came to high-end machine tools, whether it was processing precision or failure rate, Chinese machine tools were no match with international industry giants.
Since China desperately wanted to improve its manufacturing industry, it had to focus on obtaining higher quality machinery.
For example, some Chinese manufacturers that needed high precision manufacturing machines would usually choose to import machine tools and nano-precision CNC machines. Since the west had the machines, the west had all the leverage. Not only did the Chinese have to pay huge prices, but they also had to deal with the horrible end-user access rights. Therefore, the companies that were involved in sensitive technology didnt even dare to use imported machine tools.
Therefore, the cutting edge industrial technologies were also placed on the controllable fusion negotiation table.
After Lu Zhou heard Director Lis explanation, he nodded.
He wasnt a stingy person. He just didnt like the attitudes of the other two men.
He just wanted to have a normal conversation.
Lu Zhou was a reasonable person.
Seeing how Lu Zhou seemed to calm down, Director Li continued to speak sincerely, I know its difficult for you to buy these two machine tools. I hope you can give us one of them. Of course, we wont just take it from you. Tell me how much you bought it, and well buy it at triple the price. If you have any other requests, feel free to tell me.
Lu Zhou smiled and said, Theres no need to pay me triple the price, I didnt buy this thing to make money.
Director Li said, Then is there any matter regarding the policy that we can help you?
Lu Zhou thought for a bit. His eyes suddenly lit up as he said, The domestic spaceports are quite far from Jinling. After I build the space shuttle, transportation might be a little difficult.
Director Li began to sweat from his forehead.
Are you implying
Lu Zhou smiled and said, If only the spaceport can be a little closer
Director Li said with a headache, Thats impossible! Even if we agree, the local government wouldnt agree. Not only is this about confidentiality, but this also concerns the surrounding geographical environment, as well as other safety and meteorology factors. This isnt just something we can approve of.
Lu Zhou coughed and said, Youre misunderstanding me. I dont need spaceports like the ones in Jiuquan or Xichuang. I just need a small spaceport to launch a space shuttle.
Space shuttles were different from rockets, especially since Lu Zhou planned on reverse-engineering the Debris No.3 Hall-effect thruster, which was much more environmentally friendly than normal chemical rockets.
Director Li shook his head and said, That wont work either!
Lu Zhou slapped his thigh and was about to leave.
Okay then, Ill talk to you about the machines some other day. Ill write a letter about the spaceport to the big man.
When Director Li heard that Lu Zhou was going to write a letter to the president, he anxiously said, Dont need to write a letter, dont bother the big man with these little matters.
Lu Zhou said in a serious tone, Aerospace engineering is one of the countrys main national strategies, how is this a little matter?
The room was silent for five seconds.
Director Li sighed and said, I cant give you any promises. To be honest, this is out of my control. However, I will try my best to find a way to coordinate with the relevant departments to help you solve this problem.
Director Li contemplated in his mind.
If Lu Zhou only wanted to launch a space shuttle and not a high-powered rocket, a small spaceport would work fine. The spaceport just had to be away from the urban area, and they had to ensure that the launch path didnt pass through any densely-populated areas.
After all, Jinling was different from Shanghai. There was plenty of land on the eastern side.
If Lu Zhou really didnt need to launch rockets, a small scale spaceport should do the job.
Since Director Li didnt immediately refuse, Lu Zhou knew that this plan might work. He smiled and said, Then thank you, Director Li.
Director Li waved his hand and said politely, Youre welcome, Im happy to help scientific researchers like you.
Lu Zhou: Oh yeah, one more thing.
Director Li: What?
Lu Zhou: The machines are already here. After the inspection, you guys can take one.
Director Li thought for a bit and immediately knew what Lu Zhou was talking about, so he smiled and replied, Good idea.
Lu Zhou nodded at Director Li.
Lu Zhou was a mathematician. He didnt want to deal with these sleazy businessmen, nor did he want to offend anyone. Now that Shenyang Machine Tool heard about the rumors, other companies would follow suit and try to buy the machines off him.
It would be better to just give the machines to the State Administration for National Defense, and let the companies contact them instead.
Yang Zhongquan was standing in the research institute warehouse. When he saw Lu Zhou and Director Li smiling, he guessed that the two had reached a consensus. So he stood there and didnt say anything, nor did he look at Lu Zhou.
Obviously, he was still angry about what happened.
Director Li walked to Yang Zhongquan and smiled.
Let your engineers inspect the two machines first.
Yang Zhongquan nodded and waved at the two engineers standing next to him.
The two engineers excitedly walked over to the two five-axis linkage machine tools, which were placed in the middle of the warehouse. They carefully began to tinker with the machines.
Lu Zhou was bored, so he took out his phone and began to read some theses.
Yang Zhongquan saw the theses on Lu Zhous screen and looked away. The mathematics symbols gave him a headache.
Five minutes went by.
The engineers who were inspecting the machines suddenly looked worried.
Theres a problem with this batch of machines, said one of them.
Director Lis heart rate dropped, and he immediately asked, Whats the problem?
The engineers face was white as he replied hesitantly, The CNC system isnt installed yet.