Sustainable space: SpaceX launches first ever controversial zero-fuel engine into space - but will it last?
SpaceX has launched the new world's first commercially viable pure electric propulsion technology that is zero fuel- as it takes what it needs from the sun, and its creators claim it will revolutionise the space industry.
US startup IVO Ltd built The Quantum Drive engine and fitted it on a microsatellite that entered orbit aboard SpaceX’s Transporter 9 mission, which lifted off from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. IVO claims that its technology will draw “limitless power for propulsion from the Sun” as it relies on a controversial theory called Quantized Inertia (QI) that challenges Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion.
Some physicists dismiss the technology as impossible after the theory was first proposed by physicist Mike McCulloch in 2007, who drew on the properties of quantum mechanics to account for a new understanding of inertia as defined by Newton’s First Law of Motion.
IVO chief executive Richard Mansell said his company performed 100 hours of vacuum chamber testing before the launch, during which the quantum drive produced a small amount of thrust. He said: “Deploying Quantum Drive into orbit in a Rogue satellite on SpaceX Transporter 9 is a milestone for the future of space propulsion. Quantum Drive’s capability allows Rogue to produce new satellite vehicles with unlimited Delta V.”
A pair of Quantum Drives are fitted to the BARRY-1 CubeSat, a satellite the size of a shoebox, and will have the mission of raising the orbit by 60 miles (100 kilometres), and if successful it will form the foundation for a new era of space travel and exploration.
Mansell said: "There are many things that have held back space exploration, one of them of course is power and propulsion. IVO’s quantum drive eliminates this propulsion problem by eliminating the fuel. By taking away the fuel, then you have essentially unlimited thrust."