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ATI's Frontiers of Propulsion Science
Primer on Breakthrough Space-Drives and Faster-Than-Light Flight

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    Technical Training Short On Site Course Quote This 3-day class is for aerospace professionals who want to know the state-of-the-art on research toward non-propellant space drives and faster-than-light flight the kind of breakthroughs that would make interstellar flight possible and revolutionize spaceflight in general. Although no breakthroughs are imminent, scholarly research has advanced to where progress is being made, some approaches have been eliminated, and the next cycle of research goals have been articulated. This tutorial is based on the recent book, Frontiers of Propulsion Science (AIAA 2009). Although the book is not a requirement for the class, it is highly recommended to those who may wish to pursue such research on their own.

What You Will Learn:

  • Relevant physics topics, accrued knowledge, and remaining unknowns.
  • Defining features of "breakthrough" propulsion, and corresponding issues.
  • How to link the foundations of physics to unsolved issues of spaceflight to identify the next key research goals.
  • Which ideas appear nonviable.
  • Which approaches are still under investigation and by whom.
  • How to distinguish crazy ideas having some potential from just crazy ideas.
  • How to conduct such research within conventional organizations, avoiding pitfalls of pedantic disdain and delusional tainting.
  • From this course you will obtain an understanding of the status and remaining steps toward achieving breakthrough spaceflight.

Course Outline:

  1. Is Now The Time? History & Technological Limits. Timeline of relevant physics advancements. History of: Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project [NASA], Project Greenglow [BAE Systems, UK], Advanced propulsion physics study [ESA], and others. Limits of interstellar propulsion technology; fundamentals of interstellar flight, rocket-based and beamed-momentum concepts, critical technologies and their performance limits, and the scale of interstellar energy requirements.
  2. Fundamental Physics Requirements of 'Space Drives'. Conservation of momentum and energy. Net external force requirement. Relative density of media in, and of, spacetime. Hypothetical concepts to extract critical issues; Interstellar jet, Differential sail, Induction sail, Diode sail, Inertial modifications, Oscillatory inertia thruster [Woodward], Negative mass propulsion, Disjunction drive, Potential gradient drive, and Bias drive. Relevant unfinished physics; sources and nature of inertial frames, nature of quantum energy, relevance of astronomical anomalies (dark matter, dark energy). Resulting problem statement to guide research (first step of scientific method).
  3. Review of Gravity Control in Newtonian and Riemannian Perspectives. Comparison of Newtonian and Riemannian (Einstein) perspectives. Approaches: Woodward's inertial oscillation theory and experiments, negative mass propulsion, Forward's gravitational field generator with gravitomagnetic perspectives, Tajmar's unconfirmed observations of inertial frame dragging from ultra-cold rotating matter, cosmological antigravity, Levi-Civita effect, gravitational wave rocket, Heim assertions, and Alzofon assertions. Recommended standards for Riemannian notional conventions for propulsion research [Maccone].
  4. Review of Quantum Thrusting Perspectives. Casimir effect. Negative energy induced antigravity. Gravity, inertia and the quantum vacuum, including a null assessment of one Stochastic Electrodynamic inertia theory). Pinto's Casimir analysis with curved spacetime. Heim assertions. Alzofon assertions. Progress and limits toward thrusting against the quantum vacuum [Foward & Maclay].
  5. Nonviable Approaches. Analysis and test results of: Mechanical oscillators (differential static/dynamic friction), Gyroscopic antigravity (torques), Lifters/Asymmetrical capacitors (ion wind), Hooper antigravity coils (non-zero fields plus thermal effects), Yamashita's electrogravitation, Podkletnov's superconducting gravity shield and force beam, and net-thrust misconceptions from mixing the Minkowski and Abraham formalisms for photon momentum in media (Slepian, Corum, Brito). Techniques to quickly assess potential merit of unfamiliar ideas without bias, and how best to respond to amateur submissions.
  6. Experimental Concerns. Common sources of misinterpretations; electrostatic effects, electromagnetic effects, testing in vacuum, data analysis cautions, considering relative phase of AC voltage and current, and instrumentation peculiarities. Difficulties with superconductor experiments; thermal, buoyancy, evaporation, vibration, and liquid effects.
  7. Review of Faster-Than-Light Flight. Refresher on special relativity limitations. Faster-than-light approaches in General relativity; wormholes and warp drives. Make-break issues and energy requirements. Implications of time travel. Faster-than-light considerations from Quantum physics, superluminal tunneling and entanglement. Retro-causality experiments.
  8. Other Curiosities. Energy conversion approaches with the quantum vacuum; Forward's Casimir battery, resonant dielectric spheres, voltage fluctuations in coils, ground state energy reduction attempts, cycling Casimir cavity dimensions (null), and electromagnetic vortex effects. Critical theoretical issues pertaining to energy exchange with various theoretical foundations under investigation (Quantum electrodynamics, Neoclassical theories, Stochastic Electrodynamics), Unexpected observations with sonoluminescence.
  9. Making Progress. How to conduct such disruptive research within conservative organizations, with due concern for delusional claims, pedantic resistance, fiscal responsibility, and demonstrating near-term progress on unpredictable prospects.


    Tuition for this three day course is $1740 per person at one of our scheduled public courses. Onsite pricing is available. Please call us at 410-956-8805 or send an email to

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