Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
Borrowing two pilots from some departments would be the easiest way to go about this.
However, the cumbersome part was that he wasnt familiar with the Air Force. He didnt know where to borrow the appropriate pilots. However, the problem seemed to solve itself.
The second week after the moon landing bidding conference, after Lu Zhou had finished writing the letter, the space shuttle assembly center welcomed several special guests.
Inside the reception room at the aerospace assembly center
The secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology introduced Lu Zhou to the chief engineer of the Air Force Equipment Department, Academician Wu Kang, as well as the minister of the Air Force Equipment Department.
This old man in a military uniform looked serious and stern. He gave off a solemn vibe.
This is the head of the Air Force Equipment Department, Minister Qin Zhuangyan.
Minister Qin, nice to meet you.
Lu Zhou wasnt sure if he should shake the ministers hand, but the minister reached out his hand first.
Its a pleasure to meet you, Professor Lu.
After Lu Zhou shook hands with several other experts from the Air Force Equipment Department, Minister Qin spoke to him.
Professor Lu, Im sure youre a busy person, so I wont waste your time. I apologize in advance for being straightforward.
Lu Zhou smiled and nodded.
No, its totally fine, I dont like small talk anyway.
Minister Qin nodded and spoke in a serious manner.
Im sure that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has already contacted you before I came here. I only have one question, can your ion thruster propulsion engine really produce 200 kN thrust?
Lu Zhou thought for a bit and said, Im not sure about your stability requirements but it should be fine if youre using it to send space shuttles into low-Earth orbit.
The experts standing behind Minister Qin looked shocked.
Even though they had seen the data sent from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, seeing it on the PowerPoint was far less shocking than hearing Lu Zhou say it in person.
Especially Academician Wu, who was even more excited.
According to usual aerospace engine standards, 200 kN of thrust wasnt very large. Even the Trent-800 from the Boeing 77 had double the thrust.
However, if someone were to take the continuous flight time into account, very few conventional fuel engines could stand up against the ion thruster propulsion engines equipped with small nuclear fusion machines. Even though the 200 kN thrust was much lower than traditional jet aircraft, the extreme endurance of the nuclear fusion propulsion can outlast any traditional aircraft
Instantly, an idea popped into his mind.
Airspace strategic bomber jet!
If this ion thruster propulsion engine is really as magical as Lu Zhou describes it to be, then this would be perfect for bombing planes!
He wasnt the only one that had this idea.
Obviously, Minister Qin, who was standing beside him, also had this idea.
After hearing Lu Zhous explanation, Minister Qin instantly looked a little excited. He looked at Lu Zhou and asked sincerely, I wonder if you can show us the ion thruster propulsion system?
Lu Zhou looked at Minister Qins eager face and smiled.
Of course I can, you guys happened to come here at the right time. We just finished assembling a Hall-effect thruster yesterday, and now, the thing is lying on the rocket engine test bench, waiting for testing. If you guys are interested, just follow me.
Right after Lu Zhou finished speaking, Academician Wu replied, Please, wed be glad to see it!
Okay then, right this way.
Lu Zhou took the group of people to the rocket engine test bench, which was located at the corner of the assembly center.
In the center of the test rig, there was a cone that was a couple of meters tall, which was securely attached on a steel alloy stand. The cone was densely packed with hundreds of fist-sized propulsion units. Right in front of the cones opening was a concrete wall.
Lu Zhou noticed that Academician Wu was very interested in the concrete wall, so he said, The temperature of the Hall-effect thruster jet stream is very high, so we have to put it in front of a concrete wall to avoid accidents. He looked at the staff member who was adjusting the equipment and nodded. He said, Theres going to be an experiment on the thrust and jet plume stability; I think youll be very interested.
Half an hour quickly passed by.
The experiment officially began.
Maintenance personnel located near the thruster began to evacuate. The staff members finished the final adjustments and pulled down the lever. Huge amounts of electricity began to flow inside the engine ionization chamber. The temperature on the screen began to rise, and the air around the engine condensed into a clear blue cone as an orange thruster shell was pushed outward.
The plasma was continuously being ejected out of the thruster. The thrust value on the screen gradually began to rise. After it reached 198.68 kN, it began to fluctuate up and down over a range of 10 kN.
The plasma output is stable!
The ionization chamber temperature is normal!
After Academician Wu listened to the staff member, he glanced at the plume speed on the screen.
What material does your engine use? How is it able to withstand such high temperatures?
Its not the material that is resistant against high temperatures, its the magnetic field But that concrete wall isnt so lucky.
The concrete wall behind the thruster had melted, creating a one-meter wide concave dent in the wall.
Even though the total amount of working medium ejected wasnt large, the concrete wall wasnt able to bear the temperature.
The experiment went on for about an hour.
In addition to the maximum thrust, Lu Zhou instructed the staff to conduct experiments on the orbital change speed at 15% of maximum power and the outer space cruise speed at 3% of maximum power.
After the entire set of experiments were completed, the power consumption alone was close to 100,000 kWh.
Minister Qin was standing on the reinforced steel platform, looking over the engine. He was totally astonished.
After a while, he looked at Lu Zhou and took a deep breath.
This ion thruster system How long before its complete?
Lu Zhou said, This ion thruster propulsion system is already complete, but its still sitting on the rocket engine test bench. Before we complete space shuttle test flights, I cant guarantee that its operation in the sky is reliable.
Minister Qin looked at Lu Zhou and said seriously, If you encounter any difficulties in your research, please tell us, well try our best to help!
Lu Zhou smiled and said, I actually do have some things I need help with. I need two aviators.
Minister Qin paused for a second before asking, Are two enough?
Lu Zhou: Yeah.
Minister Qin didnt expect this request. He said, I heard you were having a funding problem.
Lu Zhou said, Oh, funding problem? Weve already solved that.
Oh, you solved your funding problem. Good, good Minister Qin nodded. He was relieved.
He knew that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology wanted the Air Force Equipment Department to pay for the research and development of the ion thruster propulsion system.
If it werent for the fact that the ion thruster system was so strong on paper and because Lu Zhou was Nobel Prize and Ling Yun winner, he would not have brought so many experts here. Nor would he had given so much support to this project.
But now that the funding problem was solved, they could just spend money on buying the final product.
As for buying the two aviators
Given that this technology was going to change the entire future of air combat, two aviators were a piece of cake.
Minister Qin looked at Lu Zhou and solemnly said, Ill arrange the aviators. As for the Hall-effect thruster research Ill leave that to you, thanks!
Lu Zhou gently smiled.
Rest assured, Im confident about my research.
Lu Zhou was quite relaxed.
There are bound to be people who would like a technical route.
Unfortunately, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation experts arent here
Lu Zhou was looking forward to seeing the haters faces when they see his plane in the sky.
Minister Qin suddenly remembered something, and he said, Oh yeah Does the space shuttle have a name?
Lu Zhou hadnt thought of this before. It only had a code name at the moment.
I guess I can name it.
The perfect name came to mind.
He looked down at the huge silver engine under the steel platform and said, The Hall-effect thruster jet plume can reach hundreds of millions of degrees when its in the air, and itll leave a red and blue glow in the clouds.
Lu Zhou paused for a second and smile.
Its nearly Chinese New Year soon, so lets call it Skyglow!