Identification and Significance of the Innovation
Anomalous propulsion effects where there should be none were observed as alternate thrusts in tests of a self-contained so-called RAMA device, developed at Instituto Universitario Aeronáutico (Argentina). This device, involving ring shaped high-K ceramic capacitors with wrapped around toroid coils, generates crossed time harmonic electromagnetic (EM) fields in phase quadrature. It is proposed to rectify those harmonic thrusts by superposing them with rotational motion of the device at exactly the same angular frequency, so that should they be due to hidden mechanical and/or electromagnetic inner momenta, the time-averaged effect would necessarily vanish.
If unidirectional thrusts were detected, a highly innovative propulsion system getting rid of propellants and/or beamed/collected mass/energy from external sources, would have been achieved, allowing for very high velocities in space and substantially cutting down space transportation costs. Several theoretical formalisms have been advanced to explain the working of this kind of propulsion concepts. They formally reduce to force producing mechanisms which cannot be entirely electromagnetic, since if that were the case, the self-contained device should comply with the Law of Momentum Conservation; instead, electromagnetically induced gravitational fields are proposed as responsible for the observed results. Although there is no universal consensus about their theoretical plausibility, an experimental elucidation of the subject is currently underway at prestigious institutions in U.S.A, E.U. and China. To date, the peer-reviewed results reported by these teams are in the N range of unidirectional (rectified) thrust, to be contrasted with alternate thrusts in the mN range presently obtained in the RAMA device, and being expected as effective unidirectional thrusts in the modified device with a rectification fixture.
To implement the thrust rectification, a reaction wheel assures the rotation of the device, the torque being supplied by a brushless high rotation rate electric motor. To synchronize the harmonic thrust with the rotational motion, the angular velocity of the rotating assembly as measured by a solid-state gyrometer, and the thrust frequency, are fed into an on-board computer charged of generating the velocity commands to the brushless motor. The on-board electronics is completed with a RF link to assure the ON-OFF activation commands from the lab operators, acting upon both the thruster and the reaction wheel. The whole rotating assembly is integrated to a supporting fixture fixed to a 0.01 mN accuracy thrust-sensing rig.
The outcome of a successful project through Development and Qualification phases will be a validated propellant-less propulsion concept for in-space applications at proto-flight technological level (TRL-6), able of capturing a substantial fraction of a $20B launchers and spacecrafts market and very likely stirring an exponential growth of the sector. Near term foreseeable applications includes GEO satellite station-keeping, NEO/NMO satellite orbit raising/lowering and deep space trajectories mid-course corrections, using solar and/or RTG power. Mid-term applications could involve deep space main propulsion, from robotic to crewed missions, provided on-board nuclear fission power is available. Far term applications could be in the realm of interstellar missions, using on-board nuclear fusion and/or antimatter power.