NASA Paper Measuring Thrust from EmDrive Replication Has Leaked (Update: Paper Now Peer-Reviewed, Published in Journal of Propulsion and Power)

UPDATE (Nov 20, 2016):

The paper referenced below has now been published in the Journal of Propulsion and Power which is a publication of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

A link to the article is here:

I haven’t compared the two articles carefully side-by-side, but on a quick review the text looks to be very similar to the leaked article referenced below, with additional graphics and photos included.


There’s an article on the website that provides a link to an apparently leaked copy of a paper by a team from the NASA Johnson Space Center reporting on their testing of an EmDrive-like module. The EmDrive inventor, Roger Shawyer, claims his invention can produce thrust without any fuel or propulsion — something many people consider to be impossible based on Newton’s Third law — rather that thrust is produced by the movement of microwave phonons being bounced around the interior of a cone-shaped metal body.

The title of the paper is “Measurement of Impulsive Thrust in a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum” and the authors are Harold White, Paul March, James Lawrence, Jerry Vera, Andre Sylvester, Davis Brady and Paul Bailey. They had previously announced that this paper would be published in a peer-reviewed journal, probably in December of this year. A link to the paper is here:

The key finding in the paper is describes by the authors in the conclusion: “”The test campaign included a null thrust test effort to identify any mundane sources of impulsive thrust, however none were identified. “Thrust data from forward, reverse, and null suggests that the system is consistently performing with a thrust to power ratio of 1.2 ± 0.1 mN/kW [millinewtons per kilowatt]”

They state they did not try to optimise the thrust in their device since this was more of a proof-of-concept experiment. In comparing this experimental device to other propulsion methods, they state that it is an order of magnitude lower than current Hall thrusters, and an order of magnitude higher than light sails, laser propulsion and photon rockets.

78 Replies to “NASA Paper Measuring Thrust from EmDrive Replication Has Leaked (Update: Paper Now Peer-Reviewed, Published in Journal of Propulsion and Power)”

  1. they didn’t rule out thermal interferences yet; Frank could correct the article because thrust is >2 order of magnitude higher than other zero-propellant engines

  2. I guess Hawkings and the Russian scientist that want to send probes to our closest neighboring system may want to look at this instead of using laser based propulsion.

  3. I wonder if 2017 becomes the year of the impossible. It looks like there is a real chance that several things that are popularly considered impossible until now could well become proven publicly and more generally known and understood.

    I hope so. These technologies could just be the tip of the iceberg once we understand more about it and what underlies it.

    Truely Exciting times ahead 😉

  4. Power the Em-Drive with the LENR reactor, and watch the billion tiny drones harvest asteroid fields.
    An automated space factory could build it all with space harvested materials, once it is bootstrapped.

    1. Right. So if it can be proven that it works, just add some engineering to increase efficiency. You won’t need enormous thrust—in space, without friction, even a modest continuous acceleration will make you reach very hight speed over time.
      To leave Earth and get into orbit you’ll use conventional engines.

      1. If you super heat Hydrogen to be jettisoned out a nozzle like an ion thruster, it has 4 times the thrust power as current burning hydrogen/oxygen. Thus you can can increase payload 400% or reduce fuel required by 75% and also have a rocket that ways much less. Likely they would opt for something in the middle.

    1. Some of the points this person makes, like what mode it is in didn’t seem particularly relevant, a big who cares in the larger picture.

    2. The comment you link to is 80% nonsense, and a prime example of a person who is reacting emotionally, trying to throw enough mud in the hope that some will stick… An method employed by all the most rabid “skeptics”.

      1. Dont know if they are an authority on EmDrive but that it
        Is an interesting article for some people that read this blog.
        Who do you consider an
        authoritative source on EmDrive?

        1. I think the only people that is an authority in the EM drive are the ones replicating it. Tajmar, among the respectable researchers that anyone would pay attention to, is doing research on it. On the other hand, Rationalwiki is known for being slanted against anything controversial, and considers anyone dealing with those controversial issues as crackpots, so, not a good source for anything controversial.

    1. The Flying cars of people’s imagination will forever be a fantasy for the masses until we master anti gravity. Fact. We have various VTOL craft, helicopters, quad copters and people for which price is no object.

      The reason for this is the lack of the proper technology(Think anti gravity). Mass thrust systems of current technology have many issues. The (2) biggest issues are no one wants to be sandblasted with dirt/dust/rock and the decibel levels are deafening. There’s also the issue of flying any craft of size in populated areas. Note in the U.S., property owners also own to the level of 500 foot of the air space above their property.

  5. Jules, “ie from solar panels or from a source of fuel (plutonium dioxide) …” Um, this is an LENR site. We are of the mind that vast quantities of abundant energy are available, far beyond, well, solar panels.

    I am not easily convinced that this will be effective technology for flying cars, after all we can just take some air and fire it out the bottom or back, and get all the thrust we need. However, this technology sounds extremely exciting for deep space travel, where a little acceleration gets you a long way.

    1. Hi bfast 🙂 , As far as i understand it, LENR at the moment it is not as energy dense as say deuterium/tritium fusion is. At best deuterium/tritium fusion is capable of getting a space craft up to 10% of C depending on the crafts mass etc. A little acceleration gets you a long way – very very very slowly if the craft has large mass, or conversely: a little acceleration gets you a long way quite quickly if the overall mass is very small. The time it takes to get anywhere in space in my opinion is what makes space travel almost hopeless even with hot fusion or matter / anti matter propulsion. As i understand it, It has been calculated that: the energy required to propel a 1KG object to 10% of C is something like 150 GW of power using a light sail. Lets hope LENR can be massively more energy dense than this in the future to help us travel for example, to our nearest neighboring star a darn site quicker than the 40 years @ 150 GW, or the 400 years at 15 GW for example. Either way fingers crossed for the future – i would love to see some real photos from a probe in orbit around our nearest neighboring stars/planets – preferably in my life time 🙂 – i’m a little impatient 😀

    2. Jules likely isn’t taking into account the compounding of speed in the vacuum of space. No one is impressed with galactic travel at 1 mile an hour. However, 2 weeks later at 3 miles per second will be rockin cool. Still, we aren’t going anywhere fast until we learn to warp space.

  6. The election of Trump (ugh) presents an interesting scenario now with regards to advanced energy technologies.

    First point… if Obama is really aware of the validity of LENR or any other breakthrough energy technologies, he’s got 2 months to get them out before they are buried by opposing interests. If nothing happens, then maybe nothing is there.

    Second point… the people in a Trump cabinet and inner circle making decisions about advanced technologies are going to be stacked with fossil fuel interests. A Trump Administration is likely to drill baby drill and fire up dormant coal plants, not sink investment into solar, wind or exotic technologies.

    If climate change is a threat (and I do believe it is, informed by an overwhelming consensus of scientists who study the field), then these are the exact wrong people to have in charge right now.

    We need a silver technology bullet. We need LENR to emerge. Rossi, it’s time to stop playing games. Brillouin, it’s time to stop playing games. Industrial Heat, it’s time to stop playing games. Lenuco, it’s time to stop playing games. me356, it’s time to stop playing games. And you others. Stop playing games.

    Code red people.

    1. I wish Ian Walker would have been right with his October Surprise…

      Even if LENR+ surfaces within 2017, it would now have an unpleasant aftertase, as the economic boom from LENR+ would inevitably be attributed to Trump.

    2. Trump is a businessman. LENR will be great for business. Just don’t expect anyone to come forward until product is in the market.

      As to Fossil fuels, they will be needed for many decades regardless what energy source ultimately replaces them. People should learn to accept that or prepare to move back into caves.

      They are struggling to produce & sell less then 500,000 EV’s a year while nearly 100 Million ICE vehicles are being manufactured & sold anually. Do the math. By 2020 when Musk’s mega plant is completed, they will have the battery capacity to supply 1 Million EV’s world wide 90% of which will have a range less then 100 miles.

      Lithium has already increased in price by about 400% due to demand. It requires approximately 15 years to open up a new lithium mine and processing facility.

      All the propaganda and hype would have you believe EV’s will replace ICE vehicles in a few years. It will require many decades just to build the capacity to do so. Much longer if litium batteries are also need for electricity storage for the masses. The real concern should be if fossil fuels will last long enough for a transition.

      1. Well , with the info age (internet WIFI,satellites,work at home, etc…)do you think that we may be able to have a society without personal vehicles? – That would make the transition a lot easier…

        1. Actually, I recently read an article about a scheme aimed at places such as New York City. Currently if you build a high rise apartment complex, you must include a certain amount of parking space be it a parking lot or garage.

          This will no longer be a requirement. In addition, existing parking facility requirements will gradually be phased out. Given the cost of N.Y. real estate, these also will become high rise apartment complexes. This all has 1 intended purpose. If you want to live somewhere like New York City, you will be forced to use public transportation or a bicycle.

          This is the kind of article you wont see on the front page of news papers or headline news. They always publish this on the unbeaten path. When asked about this at a latter time, the politicians can always say we told you about this. Weren’t you paying attention.

          1. Yes,and if you need to use a vehicle, you could order one EV on your cell phone,it would come to your location and you could enjoy the ride to your destination without a driver…

    3. The people in a Trump cabinet and inner circle are gonna have to pay for infrastructure expenditures. That requires a successful way to finance them. They got to steadily reduce national debt somehow also, for this country to get back to normal. The most expensive commodity in this has always been energy. If we want to make America and the world for that matter great again, I can envision Trump’s energy seekers sinking some taxpayer monies into commercialization of e-cats, at hot fusion/oil explorations’ expense. The melding of less costly energy and the e-cat will be a great way to get industrialization back to the USA.This, along with ocean, solar, wind and other bludgeoning technologies, butts oil’s contribution into plastic factories, as combusting energies start a long fade out. So there is lots to anticipate in 2017, and it can really be magic, unleashed advances, not longer suppressed. Sit back, watch what goes on, and enjoy it.

        1. It is going to be economic chaos with insane booms and complete crashes in many existing businesses. Thousands of coal miners will become superfluous, while the company owners will simply consolidate heavily, and the few still heavily vested will prosper greatly as the price for coal as a feedstock is orders of magnitude greater, but the tonnage required inversely so. The same will happen to liquid and gaseous fuels when competitive vehicular applications are developed.

          Based on much of the news of the past three years, this has been gamed by many oil-rich countries (especially the Saudis, UAR, Russia, and others).

      1. Since AT MOST 25% of anything Trump presented as fact (or details of policy proposals) during his campaign can be considered true, the only reasonable projection of his future actions must be based only on his very recent actions post-election- and they point strongly to a firm reinforcement of the current economic power players, ESPECIALLY fossil fuels and criminal banking industries. I find little to suggest otherwise, so what are you observing that does?

        1. I observing Trump as a product of the inevitability of paradigm change. The coming year of technological advances in energy (particularly e-cat LENR), in Americans attitudes, and in the reemergence of a robust manufacturing comeback, based on less than 25% of anything Trump ever presented! You might say it’s the gestalt, the summation of many trends uniting in 2017. Think about it in this way, and realize how little the oil and banking concerns have power to overcome this wave of change, as they have always managed to suppress in the recorded past.

  7. Well, first the problem is the low thrust values. There is nothing that suggests thrust beyond a few grams is practical now or in the distant future. How are they jumping from a TINY force to flying cars?

    And as for breaking laws? The pioneer probes have drifted off course simply due to the heat radiation off of the craft (from some sides more than others – 30,000 km). The real question is any more thrust is gained by this EM with a microwave cone or simply using a heating element? Remember, solar sails are possible – just not practical.

    Remember, heat is a form of electromagnetic energy (EM). So it not clear at this point if this setup is any better than using a light bulb or a heating element with a reflector to create “pressure” and a force.

    Considering the above, there is ZERO magic with using electromagnetic energy (heat, or light) to create a force.

    So why the controversy? Since the above info is basic physics known for a rather long time. The controversy centers on the claim that the force being created is NOT due to energy emitting or escaping from the device. That’s where the claims that this is impossible that gives rise to skeptics and the controversy.

    My BEST bets that the forces they are measuring are the result of the device interacting with the earth magnetic field. I mean it not voodoo science that a compass needle moves against the earth magnetic field. And even today we use this process to stabilise satellites. So coils are energized to interact with the earth’s magnetic field that in turn allows one to use “electricity” to tilt and stabilize the satellite as opposed to using the gas canisters and thrusters. So this electro-magnetic process means we don’t use fuel but only electricity which is abundantly available due to solar panels.

    What the above means is that the EM drive will have to be tested OUTSIDE of the earths magnetic field to convince me that you can create a force without emitting that EM energy – it simply not possible at this point in time.

    So until such time a test occurs outside of the earth’s magnetic field occurs way out in space, I remain rather skeptical that such a device can work.

    It is ZERO surprise that some EM device can work in space due to emission of such energy. However the claim producing a force without emissions is silly idea and amounts to saying a gyroscope can produce a force and create motion.

    More damming is the inventor says he got the idea from someone claiming that a gyroscope could produce a force and motion thought space – and that is utter nonsense.

    Zero surprise if the devices emits EM energy – that will no doubt produce a force. Worse, why are they talking about hover cars and the like when we talking a VERY tiny force and ZERO evidence that this force can be scaled up to produce useful forces for propulsion.

    Either this device is emitting energy to produce that force, or the device is acting against the earth’s magnetic field. So this device producing a force and claims of measuring such a force is ZERO surprise and is moot! Nothing to see here – move along!

    The 3rd proposed idea of no emissions of EM to produce a force sets my skeptic meter WAY WAY of the charts.

    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada

      1. I haven’t read up on the NASA replication but there has been at least one replication where they measured downwards thrust – thus eliminating entropy as a propulsion mechanism.

  8. Just a thought, could this drive be performing like the magneto hydrodynamic drive? I had a thought based on the idea that space must be made up of something. If there were nothing, I have deduced that we would not see the stars as a photon cannot travel through nothing. It must have some sort of medium to go through, like a copper wire medium for electrons. There must be a space time formula that states that something going though nothing equals nothing (1 x 0 = 0). But something going through something will become something (1 x 1 = 1). So if that is the case then the EM drive is pushing against something in space time. If so, it should not violate Newton’s third law. Question is, what is space made of and how do we measure it? Obviously there is a lot more technology out there for us to discover. So however outlandish these inventors seem to us, we need them to carry on researching even outside the box. LENR is just the start and hopefully more to come.

    1. the concept that space is empty is one of those collective blind spots.. its not empty. its full of all sorts of stuff.. like Energy, Radiation, Light, Gravity Waves, and probably a bunch more stuff that i wouldnt know the names of. space can bend with enough mass & gravity .. our sun bends it.. our planet bends it… so while its not exactly a physical object like a planet it does consist of something though, what i dont know..

      If space can be bent and punctured like with a black hole.. then the question remains whats on the other side of that barrier? physics… we know it all? … i dont think so.. we are just getting started.

  9. IMO the EMDrive can be explained from intrinsic and extrinsic perspective, which both probably apply in similar way. The intrinsic perspective assumes, that the light changes its speed and energy along
    the length of resonator (Shawyer’s theory). The extrinsic perspective considers, that the properties of light don’t change inside it, but the light gradually converts itself into longitudinal waves, which are subsequently responsible for reactive force (Annila’s theory).
    Both explanations violate established physics, which doesn’t recognize neither scalar waves, neither variable speed of light – but only seemingly.

    The trick is, that even the mainstream physics allows two processes: the polarization of light by reflection (intrinsic perspective) and materialization of photons into particles (extrinsic perspective). Both phenomena are possible once we assume that portion of photon momentum gets converted into angular momentum, i.e. the spin. The spin polarized photons can both lose their speed (group velocity), both they can interact mutually under formation of very light-weight particles (scalar waves, axions, sterile neutrinos). Both these processes may be even enforced with coupling of photons with metallic walls of resonator and their surface plasmons. For example the speed of light waves changes with polarization in minute extent only. But once these waves spread along metal surface, then the effect of their polarization gets very pronounced.

    I’ve multiple indicia, that Roger Shawyer understands his device deeper, than he presents in his theory and he keeps this knowledge for himself as his private know-how. The construction details of his device
    point rather clearly to the fact, he’s aware of polarization of photons in his device and importance of standing wave formation. This can also explain the controversial results of other replicators (Chineses, NASA), which still don’t understand the principle of Shawyer device so well, because the performance of EMDrive thruster (as measured by thrust/energy ratio) strongly depends on polarization of waves under Brewster angle and geometry of standing waves in it. Occasionally these circumstances can nullify or even reverse the thrust completely. In this way or another, the EMDrive points to interesting physics, which the physicists shouldn’t avoid, as it could point to quantum gravity theory and the way, in which relativity and quantum field theories could be reconciled mutually.

    original post with links is here

  10. I’m curious how Rossi determined QuarkX thrust as a byproduct. Was it a complete surprise when it overcame the material’s surface coefficient of friction (a greater force required to overcome than 2.1mn/KW)? Or was it suspected when suspended from a wire?

    Assuming no propellant is expelled and no radiation is emitted
    except photons omni-directionally, it appears the QuarkX’s thrust is similar in nature to the EM Drive thrust.

    Apparently there is enough force to pursue further as an R&D goal:
    “Dear Andrea, is there still any interest in the QuarkX thrust effect or is it too insignificant to consider for development and application? ”
    AR: “Yes, it is still an R&D objective.”

  11. I think a good control (final, from the bases of in h-sapce theory ) for EmDrive would be the same setup except of the change of the cavity geometrical form. If they will use a symmetrical form like sphere instead of the frustum no thrust will be generated (of course it will be some thrust because of the not ideal spherical form in reality but it will be very very small). This will exclude all other parameters but geometrical form. I don’t understand why they didn’t make it.

  12. pixelblot, here are some excerpts of past JoNP

    April 4, 2016 at 3:07 AM

    Dear Andrea,
    has your ecat-q ever produced (apart from heath,
    electricity and light) some
    kind of THRUST?
    Best regards

    Andrea Rossi
    April 4, 2016 at 5:57 AM

    Warm Regards,
    Mark Saker
    April 4, 2016 at 12:08 PM

    Dear Andrea
    In reference to Giovanni’s question and your response.
    I think there may still be some confusion with

    Giovanni is trying to determine whether the ‘Thrust’ you
    are getting could create a new type of propellantless
    thruster. There is quite a bit of research on thrusters
    which do not require propellant at the moment, such as
    the em-drive and other ‘resonant cavity propulsion’. I
    think Giovanni is trying to determine whether the
    ‘Thrust’ you are talking about is like this, or whether
    you just mean you have experienced ‘Thrust’ by adding
    the ecat into a jet engine.

    Could you please confirm whether you were discussing
    the ecat jet engine or whether you have experience a
    new type of propellantless thrust.
    I hope you can answer
    many thanks

    Andrea Rossi
    April 4, 2016 at 7:00 PM

    Mark Saker:
    we are trying ( TRYING ) to make a propellantless
    thrust. Maybe we will not succeed.
    Warm Regards,

  13. I don’t get it. Shawyer’s original paper clearly states that the thrust is produced by an effect of special relativity. And he spells it out in full detail in the video below.

    Yet no one here at e-catworld, or anywhere else that I’ve found, has addressed that. Everyone keeps looking for billiard balls to either push off of or throw out the back.

    Don’t need not stinking billiard balls!

      1. So, please elaborate on that. Exactly where does his explanation break down? All I’ve got here my little degree in math and two years of physics, and I appreciate that there could be a lot of assumptions and hidden detail, however, It seems like the equations either work or they don’t work. If they don’t work, where, exactly? The device seems to work, and Shawyer has a theory. Why not start there?

  14. Its electrical?.. which means you can power it by solar, nuclear or maybe even LENR in the future for near unlimited power…

    1. Nuclear takes fissionable material analogous to fuel. LENR charges only last for a certain amount of time, also analogous to fuel. As you say, solar is fuel-less I guess (although the Sun is consuming its own fuel). Every time I hear fuelless it makes me cringe because it has all the negative connotations of perpetual motion. And that’s coming from someone who believes ZPE could be harvestable.

      1. i understand what you mean by that Guy.. but for my purposes i believe the term i used was “near unlimited” when you consider our lifetimes or even several dozen lifetimes in comparison to the sun 🙂

    2. Yes, am sure you in science class saw such a device, or walking by a novelty shop. Here one:
      Heat energy, and light is EM radiation (EM = electromagnetic radiation).
      So if you take a light bulb, and a pie tin plate, the spaceship will produce a force based on that electric energy producing heat.

      1. Sorry i am so late in answering. Now i do not claim to be qualified to debate the science of the EM drive so i will leave that to others who can. But as a microwave driven device that is powered electrically LENR is well suited due to the low weight and volume that its fuel requires. I do not mean to imply that its a free ride at all.

        Now it becomes a question of how well does it scale up to be usable beyond a few milinewtons of force.

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