Category Archives: Exotic Propulsion

Today at NASA NIAC 2017

Dr. Heidi Fearn today at NIAC
Dr. Heidi Fearn today at NIAC

Today at the the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program’s 2017 Symposium in Denver, SSI SA Dr. Heidi Fearn presented “Mach Effects for In Space Propulsion: Interstellar Mission.”

As promised, here are detailed documents from that presentation.

For the session poster, click here (41MB).

For the Q&A sheets, click here (10MB).

For the presentation slides, click here (37MB).

Great job Team SSI: Professor Heidi Fearn (PI), Dr. Jose Rodal, Dr. Marshall Eubanks, Dr. Bruce Long, Mr. Paul March, Gary C Hudson and Emeritus Professor James F. Woodward (Consultant)



For Dr. Fearn’s NIAC one-page overview, click here.

To  visit the NIAC 2017 Symposium page, click here.

For more information on the SSI Exotic Propulsion Initiative, click here.

Next Week: NIAC!

Next Week: NIAC!

The SSI Exotic Propulsion Initiative work continues…

SSI President Gary C Hudson has this update
for All SSI Associates:

“The NASA sponsored NIAC Symposium starts Monday morning at 8:30 am Denver time and I am very pleased to tell you that SSI SA Dr. Heidi Fearn will be presenting “Mach Effects for In Space Propulsion: Interstellar Mission” at 11:10am on Wednesday.

It will be live streamed at

Slides of Heidi’s talk, a Q&A handout and a PDF of the poster will all be public documents as of 11am Wednesday and at that time I will send them for posting on the SSI.ORG website and SSI Announcements page on Facebook .”

September 25-27, 2017, the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program’s 2017 Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center.

Great job Team SSI!

The SSI NIAC team in DC. l-r:  Dr. Jose Rodal, Professor Heidi Fearn, Dr. Marshall Eubanks and Dr. Bruce Long
The SSI NIAC team in DC. l-r: Dr. Jose Rodal, Professor Heidi Fearn, Dr. Marshall Eubanks and Dr. Bruce Long


For Dr. Fearn’s NIAC one-page overview, click here.

To  visit the NIAC 2017 Symposium page, click here.

For the current NIAC 2017 agenda pdf, click here.

SSI NIAC June 2017 Update from President Gary Hudson

SSI President Gary Hudson
SSI President Gary Hudson


Good Morning SSI Associates!

I wanted to personally give you this quick update on the Space Studies Institute Exotic Propulsion Initiative:

Earlier this month, several members of the SSI NIAC study team attended the NASA NIAC kickoff event in Washington, D.C. Besides delivering a short “elevator pitch” presentation, Professor Heidi Fearn and Drs. Marshall Eubanks, Bruce Long and José Rodal also presented a poster and slides which we’ve made available for download at the bottom of this post.

We’re now about twenty percent of the way along our study, and as we proceed we’ll provide progress reports on both the experimental, theoretical and conceptual probe work being undertaken.

Thank you very much for your personal support!

– Gary

The SSI NIAC team in DC
The SSI NIAC team in DC. l-r:  Dr. Jose Rodal, Professor Heidi Fearn, Dr. Marshall Eubanks and Dr. Bruce Long
SSI NIAC 2017 Overview Poster
SSI NIAC 2017 Overview Poster (click to show larger)

For your copy of the DC Kickoff presentation slides PDF click here !

For more information on the SSI Exotic Propulsion Initiative, including links to the full set of videos from the 2016 Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop, see the main project page on

Don’t forget, only with your personal support and generous contributions can we continue to turn great engineering ideas into positive realities.

SSI is working today on The High Frontier.  Join us!

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

SSI Exotic Propulsion 2017 NIAC Phase I Award

SSI President Gary Hudson

From Space Studies Institute President Gary C Hudson:


I’m very pleased to announce that an SSI proposal, under the leadership of Principal Investigator Heidi Fearn at CalState University Fullerton, has been selected for a Phase I 2017 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program award.

Several of our colleagues (José Rodal, Paul March, Bruce Long, Nolan van Rossum and Marshall Eubanks) are Co-PIs or consultants. Prof. Jim Woodward will also consult on the project. SSI will administratively manage the grant for the team.

The Project Summary from our proposal:

We propose to study the implementation of an innovative thrust producing technology for use in NASA missions involving in space main propulsion. Mach Effect Thruster (MET) propulsion is based on peer-reviewed, technically credible physics. Mach effects are transient variations in the rest masses of objects that simultaneously experience accelerations and internal energy changes. They are predicted by standard physics where Mach’s principle applies – as discussed in peer-reviewed papers spanning 20 years and a recent book, Making Starships and Stargates: the Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes published by Springer-Verlag. These effects have the revolutionary capability to produce thrust without the irreversible ejection of propellant, eliminating the need to carry propellant as required with most other propulsion systems.

Our initial Phase 1 effort will have three tasks, two experimental and one analytical:

1. Improvement of the current laboratory-scale devices, in order to provide long duration thrust at levels required for practical propulsion applications.

2. Design and development of a power supply and electrical systems to provide feedback and control of the input AC voltage, and resonant frequency, that determine the efficiency of the MET.

3. Improve theoretical thrust predictions and build a reliable model of the device to assist in perfecting the design. Predict maximum thrust achievable by one device and how large an array of thrusters would be required to send a probe, of size 1.5m diameter by 3m, of total mass 1245Kg including a modest 400 Kg of payload, a distance of 8 light years (ly) away.

Ultimately, once proven in flight and after more development, these thrusters could be used for primary mission propulsion, opening up the solar system and making interstellar missions a reality. The MET device is not a rocket, it does not expel fuel mass, and does not suffer from the velocity restriction of rockets. Freedom from the need to expel propellant means very high velocities might be achievable simply by providing electrical power and adequate heat rejection for the drive system. A mission to Planet 9 is possible in the near future using RTG power and thruster arrays. A future goal would be interstellar travel to the nearest exoplanet, within 5-9 Ly distance. A mission of this type might take 20 or more years using the MET thruster. Although the nearest exoplanet is 14 or so ly distance, more Earth-like planets are being discovered daily.

This aerospace concept is an exciting TRL 1 technology, ready to take the next step to providing propellantless propulsion, first in incremental NASA smallsat missions, but later enabling revolutionary new deep space exploratory capabilities beyond anything achievable by conventional chemical, nuclear or electric propulsion systems. This unexplored opportunity has been uniquely developed by our co-Principal Investigators, breaking new ground in both science and engineering. Finally, it is technically credible – if bold and unconventional – and is fully consistent with modern physics, having been demonstrated over ten years of careful laboratory demonstration and investigation.

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

For more information on SSI’s Exotic Propulsion Initiative, please see its SSI Program Page.