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The SpaceDrive Project-Developing Revolutionary Propulsion at TU Dresden
Abstract and Figures
Propellantless propulsion is believed to be the best option for interstellar travel. However, photon rockets or solar sails have thrusts so low that maybe only nano-scaled spacecraft may reach the next star within our lifetime using very high-power laser beams. Since 2012, a dedicated breakthrough propulsion physics group was founded at the Institute of Aerospace Engineering at TU Dresden to investigate different concepts based on non-classical/revolutionary propulsion ideas that claim to be at least an order of magnitude more efficient in producing thrust compared to photon rockets. Most of these schemes rely on modifying the inertial mass, which in turn could lead to a new propellantless propulsion method. Our intention is to develop an excellent research infrastructure to test new ideas and measure thrusts and/or artefacts with high confidence to determine if a concept works and if it does how to scale it up. At present, we are focusing on two possible revolutionary concepts: The EMDrive and the Mach-Effect Thruster. The first concept uses microwaves in a truncated cone-shaped cavity that is claimed to produce thrust. Although it is not clear on which theoretical basis this can work, several experimental tests have been reported in the literature, which warrants a closer examination. We are building several models of different sizes to understand scaling laws and the interaction with the test environment. The second concept is theoretically much better understood and is believed to generate mass fluctuations in a piezo-crystal stack that creates non-zero time-averaged thrusts. Apart from theoretical models, we are testing and building several such thrusters in novel setups to further investigate their thrust capability. In addition, we are performing side-experiments to investigate other experimental areas that may be promising for revolutionary propulsion. To improve our testing capabilities, several cutting-edge thrust balances are under development to compare thrust measurements in different measurement setups to gain confidence and to identify experimental artefacts.
Figures - uploaded by Martin Tajmar
All figure content in this area was uploaded by Martin Tajmar
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