Chapter 691: Competitor The bidding conference was finished. After Lu Zhou’s presentation, many other research institutes and aerospace companies demonstrated their technology in the form of a powerpoint. Even though there were some designs that were even more ridiculous than Lu Zhou’s presentation, no one had any desire to complain. Just like this, the bidding conference came to an end. After the conference ended, Lu Zhou went into his hotel room and took a shower. Then, he made phone calls to all the business cards he was given a while ago. Finally, he called Chen Yushan and told her about the bet he made at the conference. Strictly speaking, this wasn’t an official bet with Academician Yuan. After all, it was meaningless to make a bet with a chief engineer. Even if he won, it wasn’t like he could take over China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Instead, this was just an oral agreement that had a gambling nature. Which was, for the bidding scheme of the 50-ton low-Earth orbit delivery, the “finished product” would be used instead of the bidding documents. Or in other words, the first person who proved that they had the ability to put a 50-ton load into low-Earth orbit could win the project bidding, provided their price was reasonable. This funding would probably be around 9-12 billion yuan. Even though this was only an oral agreement, it was acknowledged by the leadership teams from the State Administration for National Defense and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, and it was written into the conference transcript. In some sense, it was enforceable. After all, aside from the bet being made in front of so many colleagues, if Star Sky Technology could really produce an advanced ion thruster propulsion like the one shown on their PowerPoint presentation, there was no reason for the State Administration for National Defense not to choose Star Sky Technology. No matter which bidder would win this competition, the buyer would always win. Of course, it wasn’t easy for Star Sky Technology to face off against such a giant aerospace company. Because the 500-ton liquid oxygen kerosene engine had been basically developed, if they worked hard enough, they might be able to build the Long March 9 in advance. Regardless, Lu Zhou still had a chance to win. Now that the miniaturized controllable fusion technology and Hall-effect thruster propulsion units had been completed, the design of the space shuttle had entered its final stage. As long as Lu Zhou had enough funding, he was certain that Xiao Ai and his assembly center could live up to his expectations. However… After he told Chen Yushan what had happened, he started to get criticized by her. “Why didn’t you tell me this in advance?” Lu Zhou sighed and said, “I couldn’t make a call at the conference venue since they confiscated my phone. There was no way I could contact you.” Chen Yushan sat in her office chair and said, “Your decision is too hasty… Do you know what this means for us?” Even though Star Sky Technology’s research and development prospects seemed pretty good, they were inferior when compared to the giant that was the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Especially when it came to the aerospace field, they simply weren’t in the same weight class. Forget about the technical reserves and industrial production capabilities, in terms of launch experience alone, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation had a huge advantage over Star Sky Technology. Otherwise, why would other companies give up so quickly? Instead, other companies placed their focus on other smaller bids, such as the lunar module, the astronaut life-support equipment, etc. In terms of low-Earth orbit delivery capabilities, there wasn’t a single company that had the confidence to defeat the “500-ton-class liquid oxygen kerosene engine”, let alone the confidence to defeat the “Long March 9”.