The Americans launched their BFR rocket?
Lu Zhous mouth was wide open. He silently placed his chopsticks on the table and asked, "They launched it? When?"
"Last night! NASA issued a public announcement, and we also received confirmation through our satellites. BFR is currently leaving low-Earth orbit, and it was already on the news When was the last time you checked the news?"
"Probably last night I was preparing the material for the conference all night, so I didnt have time to look at the news." Lu Zhou frowned and contemplated it for a second. He then said, "Is it manned? Or is it just cargo?"
"Its just cargo. It is carrying a life support system made by several aerospace companies, like Space-X and Blue Origin," Director Li replied in a regretful tone. "How is the Garden plan going? Is there any progress?"
Lu Zhou: "Were still in the early stages Why?"
So far, the Garden plan was mainly done by several research institutes, such as the China Agricultural University and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Institution of Bio-technology. Star Sky Technology wasnt in charge of many projects yet.
A while ago, Lu Zhou contacted the project leader, Professor Hu Yang. So far, the Biosphere A had just finished construction, and none of the personnel or equipment had been moved in yet. It would take a while before they could use the biosphere to develop new technology.
The other end of the phone went silent.
Ten seconds later, Director Li lowered his voice and asked, "Hypothetically, if I gave you another 2 billion yuan of funding, do you think we can make a biosphere and place it on Mars?"
Even though he was just presenting a hypothetical situation, it was obvious that there was a hint of seriousness in his phone. Director Li couldnt make this decision by himself; many higher-ups had to agree to this proposal.
After Lu Zhou heard Director Lis words, he nearly choked on his water.
2 billion in funding?
Even though this sounded tempting, money couldnt solve anything.
Do you really think money alone can put something on Mars?
Lu Zhou didnt hesitate, and he immediately responded, "Forget about it, our technology is not there yet. The Americans are relying on more than half a century of experience. Its a miracle we can even send people to the moon. We should go one step at a time."
Lu Zhou could sense a hint of urgency from the Americans.
Seems like the successful Skyglow mission triggered the Americans.
Otherwise, forget about launching the life support system, the congress would take two years just to approve the construction of the life support system.
Director Li went silent for a while. He then sighed.
"Okay then, I know its not realistic How long until our lunar space station project begins?"
Lu Zhou thought for a second before saying, "Soonest by the end of the month. We can send the Moon Palace core module first. If the core module orbit is stable, then we can also send the unity module and working module As for the specific launch plans, that will depend on the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation."
The "Moon Palace" core module was the main component of the entire lunar orbit space station. It provided power, propulsion, navigation, communication, altitude control, temperature control, and other functions. A year ago, the two Chinese aerospace giants completed the design, and they successfully tested the module earlier this year.
In addition to the basic functions, this core module also had four spacecraft dockers. This allowed the core module to be connected with the unity module, working module, and other modules.
The core module mainly relied on solar energy, of which the power was stored by large lithium-sulfur batteries.
Even though some people had suggested using a small controllable fusion energy device as a power source, due to various factors such as heat, cost, maintenance, and technical difficulty, this plan was abandoned. The traditional and reliable solar power solution was implemented.
Director Li was astonished. "End of the month?"
Lu Zhou said confidently, "End of the month."
Even though the new Earth-Moon orbital transport system was still being developed, that didnt prevent Star Sky Technology from using their old spacecraft for module transport.
Director Li: "Okay then, Ill ask the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation to finish the final round of testing and send the core module to the Jinling launch site Oh yeah, theres one more thing I have to ask your opinion on."
Lu Zhou said, "What?"
Director Li cleared his throat and said in a solemn manner, "In order to facilitate the construction of the lunar orbital space station and the mining of lunar resources, the high-level officials at the Communist Party of China decided to establish a Lunar Orbit Committee. This committee will manage and coordinate funding for various lunar resource development projects."
Lu Zhou: "Yeah and?"
"The Lunar Orbit Committee will also contain a chief designer"
Director Li paused for a second. He then said, "The Communist Party of China has decided for you to be the chief designer of the committee!"
Lu Zhou: "?"
Even though there was no reason for Lu Zhou to be against this arrangement
Couldnt they ask for my opinion first?
Skyglows next launch mission was scheduled to be at the end of the month. In order to display Chinas determination to win this space race, the Communist Party of China greenlit various supporting policies.
At the same time, with the establishment of the Lunar Orbit Committee, the lunar orbit space station project was no longer controlled by the State Administration for National Defense or the China National Space Administration, but rather, it was directly under the Communist Party of China.
This was just like the first controllable fusion reactor.
It was obvious that China had big ambitions this time.
Interestingly enough, even though the establishment of the Lunar Orbit Committee caused a sensation in the aerospace industry, it didnt attract any attention from foreign media outlets.
After all, the news that China was building a lunar orbiting space station was announced a long time ago. The international community had a negative opinion on this project, and they thought it was an impossible project.
Even with the most advanced ion thruster propulsion technology, just from the cost perspective alone, sending 500 tons of material into lunar orbit was nearly impossible.
Not to mention China had no experience building large orbital space stations.
Even with Professor Lus help, people thought this was unfeasible!
The Chinese aerospace community had similar opinions.
Successfully landing on the moon was an amazing accomplishment, but planning on building a lunar space station right after seemed overly ambitious.
Some of the more radical activists even thought that the Chinese aerospace industry was being fooled by Professor Lus ego.
The establishment of the Lunar Orbit Committee was an exciting event for the aerospace industry. However, when they saw who the chief designer was, at least a third of them felt worried.
Nothing can save us.