A Thousand Times Better Instrument Will Investigate Emdrive and Mach Propulsion

Martin Tajmar has a SpaceDrive project and plans to create an instrument so sensitive and immune to interference that it would put an end to the debate once and for all. Tajmar believes that studying the EmDrive and similar propellantless propulsion systems will require nano-newton instrument resolution.

He is making a new to torsion balance. It is a pendulum-type balance that measures the amount of torque applied to the axis of the pendulum. Tajmar’s team used a laser interferometer to measure the physical displacement of the balance scales. The new torsion scale has a nano-newton resolution and supports thrusters weighing several pounds, making it the most sensitive thrust balance in existence.

The SpaceDrive Project-Thrust Balance Development and New Measurements of the Mach-Effect and EMDrive Thrusters


Forces claimed by potential propellantless propulsion systems like the Mach-Effect thruster or the EMDrive are in the µN or even sub-µN range. In this paper, an automated thrust balance design capable of measuring forces of 100 nN for thrusters with a maximum mass of 10 kg is described to test these claims. The torsion balance features an electromagnetic calibration method, adjustable magnetic damping and tilt control as well as electromagnetic shielding. All onboard electronics can be controlled wirelessly via an infrared module for serial communication. Power is supplied to the balance using three separate liquid metal feedthroughs: one for voltages up to 500 V and frequencies up to 200 kHz, one for high voltage up to 30 kV DC or AC, and one for high-frequency signals up to 3 GHz. The thruster can be rotated by 180° to measure three different thrust directions without breaking the vacuum and changing the setup in order to gain confidence and refute e.g. thermal drifts. The whole balance is controlled via a script language implemented in LabVIEW. We tested Mach-Effect thrusters provided by Woodward and our own built model exploring higher frequencies and mixed-signals that are believed to create significantly higher thrusters. Also a magnetostrictive version was built and tested. For the EMDrive, several different frequencies and setups (with/without dielectric insert, flat/spherical end caps) were tested. So far, only thermal drifts and no real thrust has been observed in all our measurements.

31 thoughts on “A Thousand Times Better Instrument Will Investigate Emdrive and Mach Propulsion”

  1. How about investigating telepathy again? If telepathy exists, the ramifications would be enormous. And telekinesis, and ESP and fairies. All low probability projects, but by golly, if they by a miracle they would work, the implications would be profound!

  2. “The state” doesn’t only mean state in USA, it means the governing body in a wider meaning. At least the state is suposed to have a monopoly, right? The state has the right to collect the taxes by threatening you with a gun. Nobody but the state has the right – with the exception of self defense situations – to use violence to reach some goal. Now, how and when the state are is allowed to exert this violence is an open question, but few would want private corporations or citizens to use violence outside of self defence…

  3. I’m more optimistic. If the devices show to work above the noise level on Earth, it should be easy to test micro-Newtons of thrust with some small sats, even if there is a lot of noise.

    Anything that at least counteracts the atmospheric drag could be very noticeable (the satellite could be made to stop falling) and compete with ionic thrusters, regardless if it’s a legit space drive.

    If it can raise the satellite’s orbit and eventually get out of Earth’s attraction, then we are talking business.

  4. Can someone parse which ones are typos and which ones are science-word soup recipes? I love science word soup.

  5. Remember when we thought we created FTL neutrinos until it turned out that GPS satellite timing systems for the timekeeping in the CERN labs was off by a fraction of a picosecond? It’s not only the scale of the measurements that makes EM look like it’s instrumentation error, it’s the fact that various experiments produce the appearance of thrust values that are 2 orders of magnitude in variation. Generally, a real physical effect would not be quite so variable.

  6. Anyone has the right to spend his/her money the way they want it, but that is not the issue. The issue is: are there better science projects? And the answer is yes. So we don’t use the state monopoly of violence to force Martin Tajmar and co. not to perform this experiment, but we are full within our right to frown and critizise the project and point out that it is a waste of time and money. You know, free society and all that….

    Also, if our tax money are in any way used for this project, we have a right to stop it. Then it is no longer only a matter of the preference of individuals of how to spend their money, don’t you agree?

  7. just scale up the damn thruster to a point that you can actually move a few newtons not nano newtons, this will get it out of the quantum noise error realm

  8. You would agree, Martin Tajmar and his backers are the ones that get to decide “the best way to spend this money”.

  9. Because you should be able to prove the effect actually exists at much less expense, with a properly designed experiment. At which point the cash spigots would really open.

  10. Is this really the best way to spend this money? Are there not more worthy science experiments than this?

  11. Release where?
    Google the delta V just to maintain a satellite in GEO due to perturbations. It’s much more than the thrust produced by these devices so anything in orbit is a no go.
    Launching to outer solar system where there are fewer disturbances is very expensive and complicated. A cubesat will not have power to communicate because solar is ineffective and one needs big antennae and transmitters. It also takes years to reach anywhere.

    Perhaps spinning one up over a year or so would be feasible but I recall a previous discussion pointing out problems with that approach.

  12. Not quite. Tiny effects are still effects – they could be new science. Einstein claimed the effects of gravitational waves were too tiny to measure, but we can do so. Same too with his “Einstein rings.” But now we measure these – and use them.
    But if there is an effect measured for EM and Mach then it could go beyond scientific curiosity, and maybe, ways could be found to amplify the effects.

  13. I dont see why they don’t go with a helium cooled super conductor rig that would be 1000 times more powerful.

  14. Patents for pseudo-science related inventions are a dime a dozen. Build me something, show it working and then you’ve got me. Until then it’s just trash.

  15. Kita and US8901943 first Gravity Shielding Patent via benzene electron ring currents in polar aromatics- http://www.chiralex.com Professor Tajmar, University of Dresden has a patent application the
    he calls (Space) Drive in the title..a desire to keep it hidden? Also his Electret-Negative Matter research paper has 52 electret citations. A Youtube of Space Studies Institute from 2016 session has Tajmar talking about my research being “outgassing”..there is no mention of the upward part of the V-shaped curve…(in-gassing..funny). Ron Kita: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/829d/e3d5e49df0ba95e99936f6b0337da34de914.pdf

  16. I don’t think it would be that tedious Release two identical cub sats at the same time. One with the thruster enabled and with it disabled. If the device produces no thrust then the cub sat would either collide due to the effect of gravity or they will drift apart in random directions. Repeat the test a doze times. If there is thrust the one with the enable drive will always move in the same direction.

  17. Excellent! Let’s test them and prove or disprove them definitely. If by some miracle they work the implications and uses are profound. If they do not work, as expected, then we need to follow this up with the most powerful drive designs we can build with Newtonian physics. This way we engage the public with an uber powerful system that we can build with our current technologies and present it to the them to get the public behind it. In that case it will likely be built, by the new space force if nothing else.

    We’ll also have the design for testing these types of effects that can be used over and over in the future. Good science and public relations either way.

  18. A propulsion system whose thrust may be an experimental error, even if improvable,
    is not very promising.

  19. A lot of the potential spurious effects would scale up in the same way, you need a design that minimizes all possible measurement errors, at which point you don’t NEED to scale up to test it.

    Not quite the way I would have done it. For one thing, the electronics don’t appear to be inside a Faraday cage. They seem to have concentrated more on sensitivity of measurement, than on eliminating possible EM effects.

  20. If these are scalable why not just scale them up until you get a viable measurable indisputable result? I get its a cost thing but we are not talking CERN type cost here its really just a matter of more power by magnitudes.

  21. Awesome science. But technologically, it looks like you might be able to pick up a teacup with only a few gigawatts of power.

  22. The thrust is so small that it will have to be measured with instruments.
    The amount of disturbance in the inner solar system is significant. There is radiation pressure, magnetic fields, plasma flows, large thermal variations, solar wind, gravimetric perturbations and alien tractor beams all over the place.
    Setting up a lab in the outer solar system is a bit tedious.

  23. Given the tiny amount of alleged thrust, in open space it’d be even more difficult to measure it. It’s not like it would accelerate and in a matter of seconds disappear beyond the event horizon.

  24. totally agree, given the potential pay off why this hasn’t been bolted onto a cubsat and given a go is beyond me.

  25. With space flight getting so cheap I would say place them in space and test’em in field conditions.

Comments are closed.