Author Topic: EM Drive X-Prize Planning  (Read 67388 times)

Offline tchernik

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #80 on: 05/18/2015 03:33 pm »
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.


I agree. The race here is towards conclusively proving the phenomenon's existence, and characterize its behavior in order to understand its capabilities. Once that happens, the  prize will be there for anyone to take.

And as you say: even small sub-Newton thrust in a vacuum is a revolution for space applications, just by removing the embedded expiry date coming with the amount of fuel your probe or ship can carry.


Offline Rodal

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #81 on: 05/18/2015 04:01 pm »
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.


I agree. The race here is towards conclusively proving the phenomenon's existence, and characterize its behavior in order to understand its capabilities. Once that happens, the  prize will be there for anyone to take.

And as you say: even small sub-Newton thrust in a vacuum is a revolution for space applications, just by removing the embedded expiry date coming with the amount of fuel your probe or ship can carry.

Arguably, airplanes only took off after the Wright Flyer proved that stability and control of a heavier than air airplane was practically possible.  Lord Kelvin had stated this was impossible.

The challenge here is much greater, of course, not really possible to compare, because the EM Drive involves a huge problem with the universal principle of conservation of momentum.  Nonetheless, the EM Drive, IMHO, is not really going to take off for space propulsion until it is shown that it can propel a spacecraft/satellite in a specified controlled course in space, and if there is an X-Prize, the prize should so state IMHO. 

"Demonstrations" of measurements in a lab (*) on terra firma will be open to the sort of debate that has already plagued the EM Drive and fail to convince independent skeptical observers (just like, for example, "verifications" of cold fusion failed to convince skeptical observers).

________

(*) short of self-levitation on Earth, which is a much, much higher challenge than propelling a spacecraft/satellite in space.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2015 04:05 pm by Rodal »

Offline Ludus

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #82 on: 05/18/2015 04:39 pm »
Cubesat.

I'm not sure why people don't get it. This is the application promoted by the inventor. If the cubesat can be tracked by anyone it's a simple  transparent experiment. It can easily be designed so that no known physics would allow it to meet the challenge so there's no need to see the cubesat or impose any complicated conditions. The issue is deliberate fraud. Any lab experiment prize is just a challenge to build a better magic trick. Science and engineering culture is not well suited to deal with clever fraud. We have endless evidence of this with studies of paranormal events. The experts here are the James Randi Foundation and I think they'd be glad to work with Xprize.

Offline Ludus

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #83 on: 05/18/2015 04:47 pm »
For judging and setting of the rules for testing, it would make sense to try to get someone from the James Randi Educational Foundation and/or the Center for Inquiry.  They both have a lot of experience debunking hoaxes and frauds.

http://web.randi.org/
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/

I missed that Chris already had this covered.

Offline txdrive

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #84 on: 05/18/2015 04:59 pm »
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.


I agree. The race here is towards conclusively proving the phenomenon's existence, and characterize its behavior in order to understand its capabilities. Once that happens, the  prize will be there for anyone to take.

And as you say: even small sub-Newton thrust in a vacuum is a revolution for space applications, just by removing the embedded expiry date coming with the amount of fuel your probe or ship can carry.

Arguably, airplanes only took off after the Wright Flyer proved that stability and control of a heavier than air airplane was practically possible.  Lord Kelvin had stated this was impossible.

The challenge here is much greater, of course, not really possible to compare, because the EM Drive involves a huge problem with the universal principle of conservation of momentum.  Nonetheless, the EM Drive, IMHO, is not really going to take off for space propulsion until it is shown that it can propel a spacecraft/satellite in a specified controlled course in space, and if there is an X-Prize, the prize should so state IMHO. 

"Demonstrations" of measurements in a lab (*) on terra firma will be open to the sort of debate that has already plagued the EM Drive and fail to convince independent skeptical observers (just like, for example, "verifications" of cold fusion failed to convince skeptical observers).
You have to keep in mind that something which measures massively different forces (From memory, off by something like 70%, wasn't it) when the device is turned around 180 degrees, is intrinsically highly unconvincing. When the effect does not exist, any experimental data to the contrary is similarly unconvincing - close to the error floor of the experimental set up (arises from a slight over-estimation of the accuracy) and thus inconsistent.

The world is a very unskeptical place. Shawyer got 45 000 uk pounds grant from the government to experimentally study a miscalculation.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2015 05:11 pm by txdrive »

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #85 on: 05/18/2015 06:07 pm »
Thanks for engaging! 

The objective of this X Prize is to potently demonstrate that the effect proposed by Shawyer and being studied by Eagleworks is real.  If you've looked at this thread, then you will know that I've proposed that there is some sustained and repeatable thrust > X where all existing explanations drop away and we are left with a concrete (repeatable) demonstration of a "real anomaly".  Note that this does not necessarily require demonstration that the effect is *useful* (i.e., in a satellite application).  The demonstration of the existence of the effect beyond some level of doubt is more than enough to justify the X Prize.  It will move the effect from "nonsense" into "very interesting" and, consequently, kick off a much larger mainstream research and development effort.

Now when we compare my proposed approach to your proposed approach we have two major variables:

1.  The cost and complexity necessary to achieve the challenge;
2.  The degree to which demonstration once/if achieved is compelling evidence that the "effect is real"

To compare the "terrestrial" vs. the "cubesat" approach, we'd need to compare the relative cost and complexity necessary to achieve a compelling demonstration.

Obviously for small X (i.e., small thrust) the cost and complexity is relatively small *but* the demonstration isn't adequately compelling.  Equally, as X increases, cost and complexity increases - and so does the quality of the demonstration (although likely in step functions rather than smoothly).

You propose that a cubesat approach


can easily be designed so that no known physics would allow it to meet the challenge so there's no need to see the cubesat or impose any complicated conditions.
[/quote]

Can you articulate these design constraints?  Adding the complexity of making the drive operable remotely in the vacuum of space, able to endure the rigors of launch and, of course, of actually launching it in an operational cubesat of some sort seems to me "more" rather than "less" complicated.   But, I know next to nothing about this approach and would love to learn how it is the straightest path.




Offline sghill

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #86 on: 05/18/2015 06:24 pm »
Note that this does not necessarily require demonstration that the effect is *useful* (i.e., in a satellite application). 

"Useful" is an important word here.  I think a contest-entry thruster with a thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 would definitely take the prize money for application development.  Float the darn thing into the room and claim your check.  Operation of the thruster would be turned over to an independent review authority for auditing just like any sort of big money contest.

I maintain as well that a separate prize for a peer-reviewed explanation of why the thruster works is also necessary.

The two are separate tracks.

Now when we compare my proposed approach to your proposed approach we have two major variables:

1.  The cost and complexity necessary to achieve the challenge;
2.  The degree to which demonstration once/if achieved is compelling evidence that the "effect is real"

1. Irrelevant.  The teams will make their own risk/reward calculation.  Paul Allen spent US $20 million on SpaceShipOne to win US$10 million, but I bet the possibility of a check helped his willingness to participate.
2. See my point above.  A thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 is an extremely simple metric to get one's mind around (helpful for good press), and it requires all sorts of other ticky-tacky details to get solved to achieve it- just like the 100km ceiling for the X-prize was arbitrary (they could have chosen a harder 100 miles) but certainly definitive and easy to conceptualize.  To your point though, a thruster with that kind of performance is also immediately applicable to any sort of transportation regime.  As others on this thread have vocally pointed out, a working thruster that can work like that will make untold fortunes for someone.  I'm just drawing the line in the sand for a performance level required to win the applications prize.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2015 06:40 pm by sghill »
Bring the thunder!

Offline tchernik

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #87 on: 05/18/2015 06:38 pm »
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.


I agree. The race here is towards conclusively proving the phenomenon's existence, and characterize its behavior in order to understand its capabilities. Once that happens, the  prize will be there for anyone to take.

And as you say: even small sub-Newton thrust in a vacuum is a revolution for space applications, just by removing the embedded expiry date coming with the amount of fuel your probe or ship can carry.

Arguably, airplanes only took off after the Wright Flyer proved that stability and control of a heavier than air airplane was practically possible.  Lord Kelvin had stated this was impossible.

The challenge here is much greater, of course, not really possible to compare, because the EM Drive involves a huge problem with the universal principle of conservation of momentum.  Nonetheless, the EM Drive, IMHO, is not really going to take off for space propulsion until it is shown that it can propel a spacecraft/satellite in a specified controlled course in space, and if there is an X-Prize, the prize should so state IMHO. 

"Demonstrations" of measurements in a lab (*) on terra firma will be open to the sort of debate that has already plagued the EM Drive and fail to convince independent skeptical observers (just like, for example, "verifications" of cold fusion failed to convince skeptical observers).

________

(*) short of self-levitation on Earth, which is a much, much higher challenge than propelling a spacecraft/satellite in space.

Agree. A successful test in space would be the culmination of a series of tests and replications, for any family of Emdrive thrusters giving thrust in the milli Newton range per Kilowatt (which is the current apparent situation).

If they can get Newtons per Kilowatt or more, though, they could run demonstrators here on Earth, making a chariot or a small airplane move with Emdrives instead of propellers (depending on the thrust per kg ratio they can get).

A flying demonstrator would be crushing evidence, of course. But as things look now I think we will be certain it works (or not), way before thinking about reaching such levels of thrust.

Offline Hanelyp

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #88 on: 05/18/2015 07:10 pm »
A satellite using the device is clearly the ultimate test, but expensive.  One approach to dealing with that is splitting the prize into 2 phases.  Phase one on the ground with the prize being orbital testing to attempt for phase 2.

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #89 on: 05/18/2015 11:26 pm »
Seems we are reasonably aligned.  For my part, I like the idea of multiple X Prizes - but that is easy to make path dependent.  *If* test 1 is passed then there are lots of additional actions that follow.   If not, then . . . not :)

The only place where I disagree is in the "irrelevance" of the cost and complexity necessary to achieve the challenge.  The formula here is some relationship between:

D = depth of pockets motivated by greed, ego or passion to fund the effort
C = cost and complexity of the challenge
M = magnitude of the prize
P = probability of claiming the prize

SpaceShip One had lots of D and while C was high, so was P.  Moreover, the challenge was structured such that the *winner* got to keep all of the IP.  Since Branson paid a cool $120M for the winning IP, a $20m investment on a $10m prize was actually a highly profitable venture. 

The disposition of the IP here is almost as important as the challenge criteria.  On one hand, we'd love to see any IP created in the competition live in the public domain.  On the other hand, there is already substantial IP in the space and clearly any novel IP developed during the competition could be quite valuable - lending more incentive to the effort.

What does the community think about IP?


Now when we compare my proposed approach to your proposed approach we have two major variables:

1.  The cost and complexity necessary to achieve the challenge;
2.  The degree to which demonstration once/if achieved is compelling evidence that the "effect is real"

1. Irrelevant.  The teams will make their own risk/reward calculation.  Paul Allen spent US $20 million on SpaceShipOne to win US$10 million, but I bet the possibility of a check helped his willingness to participate.
2. See my point above.  A thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 is an extremely simple metric to get one's mind around (helpful for good press), and it requires all sorts of other ticky-tacky details to get solved to achieve it- just like the 100km ceiling for the X-prize was arbitrary (they could have chosen a harder 100 miles) but certainly definitive and easy to conceptualize.  To your point though, a thruster with that kind of performance is also immediately applicable to any sort of transportation regime.  As others on this thread have vocally pointed out, a working thruster that can work like that will make untold fortunes for someone.  I'm just drawing the line in the sand for a performance level required to win the applications prize.

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #90 on: 05/18/2015 11:31 pm »
For fun, I'd be interested in getting the communities estimation of the relative degree of difficulty vs. degree of evidence associated with various challenge criteria.

What do you think the all-in probability of success is for a challenge to hit:

* 1 Newton of thrust
* 1 Newton of thrust with a 1N/kw power ratio
* 10 Newtons of thrust
* 1000 Micronewtons of thrust in LEO via cubesat

(Obviously your estimation will have to include some estimation for the effect not being real at all).


Offline Rodal

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #91 on: 05/19/2015 12:09 am »
As background to the EM Drive IP question:

These are all the Shawyer patent documents I know of, that have been posted in the EM Drive thread.  All of them are UK patents.

For the publication numbers attached below:

GB2493361 High q microwave radiation thruster
Filed 6Feb11 - Awaiting first examination

GB2399601 High thrust microwave engine
Filed 13Mar03 - Granted 31Jan06 - last renewed 6Mar15

GB2334761 Microwave thruster for spacecraft
Filed 29Ap88 - Granted 21Mar00 - last renewed 1Apr15


GB2229865 Electrical propulsion unit for spacecraft
Filed 1Nov88 - Granted 5May93 - now ceased (not in force from 1Nov97)

Prof. James Woodward has a patent conferred for his device (which is different than the EM Drive but should also meet the X-Prize conditions since it is a propellant-less thruster), but notice that its priority date is 1999 and that it's fee status is lapsed: 
https://www.google.com/patents/US6347766?dq=James+Woodward+propulsion&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aYBaVc39L7HLsAS-nICoBA&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAw

Under justia, this is all that shows up for Shawyer (not an EM Drive patent):

http://patents.justia.com/inventor/roger-j-shawyer

Same under Google patents

and I couldn't find Shawyer's EM Drive patents under USPTO search under inventor either

A search for Guido Fetta shows the following IP:

https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=pts&q=Guido+Fetta

A search for James Woodward shows the following IP

https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=pts&q=James+Woodward+propulsion

...

SpaceShip One had lots of D and while C was high, so was P.  Moreover, the challenge was structured such that the *winner* got to keep all of the IP.  Since Branson paid a cool $120M for the winning IP, a $20m investment on a $10m prize was actually a highly profitable venture. 

The disposition of the IP here is almost as important as the challenge criteria.  On one hand, we'd love to see any IP created in the competition live in the public domain.  On the other hand, there is already substantial IP in the space and clearly any novel IP developed during the competition could be quite valuable - lending more incentive to the effort.

What does the community think about IP?

....
« Last Edit: 05/19/2015 12:28 am by Rodal »

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #92 on: 05/19/2015 01:52 am »
Thanks Dr. Rodal.  Under the assumption that this is the extent of related existing IP, that is *good news*. 

Note to all - what do we think should be the IP angle taken by the X Prize? 

> All created IP is donated to the public domain
> All created IP remains the private property of each competitor
> All created IP is assigned to a pool to be shared among all competitors
> All created IP is assigned to Mulletron!
> Etc. (there is no proscribed boundary - what is the right approach?)


As background to the EM Drive IP question:

These are all the Shawyer patent documents I know of, that have been posted in the EM Drive thread.  All of them are UK patents.

For the publication numbers attached below:

GB2493361 High q microwave radiation thruster
Filed 6Feb11 - Awaiting first examination

GB2399601 High thrust microwave engine
Filed 13Mar03 - Granted 31Jan06 - last renewed 6Mar15

GB2334761 Microwave thruster for spacecraft
Filed 29Ap88 - Granted 21Mar00 - last renewed 1Apr15


GB2229865 Electrical propulsion unit for spacecraft
Filed 1Nov88 - Granted 5May93 - now ceased (not in force from 1Nov97)

Prof. James Woodward has a patent conferred for his device (which is different than the EM Drive but should also meet the X-Prize conditions since it is a propellant-less thruster), but notice that its priority date is 1999 and that it's fee status is lapsed: 
https://www.google.com/patents/US6347766?dq=James+Woodward+propulsion&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aYBaVc39L7HLsAS-nICoBA&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAw

Under justia, this is all that shows up for Shawyer (not an EM Drive patent):

http://patents.justia.com/inventor/roger-j-shawyer

Same under Google patents

and I couldn't find Shawyer's EM Drive patents under USPTO search under inventor either

A search for Guido Fetta shows the following IP:

https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=pts&q=Guido+Fetta

A search for James Woodward shows the following IP

https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=pts&q=James+Woodward+propulsion

...

SpaceShip One had lots of D and while C was high, so was P.  Moreover, the challenge was structured such that the *winner* got to keep all of the IP.  Since Branson paid a cool $120M for the winning IP, a $20m investment on a $10m prize was actually a highly profitable venture. 

The disposition of the IP here is almost as important as the challenge criteria.  On one hand, we'd love to see any IP created in the competition live in the public domain.  On the other hand, there is already substantial IP in the space and clearly any novel IP developed during the competition could be quite valuable - lending more incentive to the effort.

What does the community think about IP?

....

Offline Rodal

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #93 on: 05/19/2015 03:29 am »
Thanks Dr. Rodal.  Under the assumption that this is the extent of related existing IP, that is *good news*. 

Note to all - what do we think should be the IP angle taken by the X Prize? 

> All created IP is donated to the public domain
> All created IP remains the private property of each competitor
> All created IP is assigned to a pool to be shared among all competitors
....

The realistic part of me votes for <<All created Intellectual Property remains the private property of each competitor inventor>> because my understanding is that the X-Prize money will only be awarded after the winner has already used real $$$ and sweat equity to enable her to win the X-Prize.  If there are any new inventions needed to win the X-Prize, these inventions maybe invented by persons having nothing to do with the X-Prize competition.

Hence, although the idealistic part of me would like the EM Drive IP to be public property, the Intellectual Property should belong to the inventor(s) and those that invested their money and time in the invention and development.  Having said that, it would be nice if the winners donate their IP to the world, or make their patents free to share (for example the Tesla Elon Musk model: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you ).

If the winner of the X-Prize is precluded from owning the IP, that may prevent people from obtaining private venture funding to enable them to win the X-Prize, particularly if the X-Prize involves a high-cost challenge like demonstrating propulsion of an EM-Drive-powered spacecraft/satellite in controlled course, which is what I personally favor should be the X-Prize challenge.

...
> All created IP is assigned to Mulletron!
> Etc. (there is no proscribed boundary - what is the right approach?)
....
???    ::)

1) I don't understand why we should consider assigning all the Intellectual Property rights to any particular individual on a priori basis before knowing who won the X-Prize. (*)

or without knowing

2) Whether new inventions will be needed to win the X-Prize and if so, who will invent those inventions.  The X-Prize deals more with a proof-of-concept.  It is not clear whether new inventions will be needed for the proof-of-concept, and who will be responsible for those inventions (they may be invented by people having nothing to do with the X-Prize competition).

____________________________________
(*) EDIT:  Unless somebody received a tachyonic communication from the future that this individual has won the X-Prize. In that case, such tachyonic telephone communication would indeed lend credence to the consideration that the EM Drive emits tachyons   ;)  (see
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37563.msg1374816#msg1374816  and
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37563.msg1374817#msg1374817 )
« Last Edit: 05/20/2015 01:40 am by Rodal »

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #94 on: 05/19/2015 05:17 am »
There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real.

With sincere respects to you and your opinion, that's simply not correct.  I can prove why in two words: "Virgin Galactic"

He's not saying there's never any development risk with any proven effect at all.  He's saying that for the EM Drive in particular the consequences of it being real are so far-reaching that there's almost no development risk if the effect is proven.

Offline Paul451

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #95 on: 05/19/2015 06:29 am »
Arguably, airplanes only took off after the Wright Flyer proved that stability and control of a heavier than air airplane was practically possible.

Pedantically (and off-topic), while the Wright Bros probably had the first flight, they didn't have the first proven flight. Indeed, they weren't widely believed until they took their aircraft to Europe. And their designs played only a small role in aviation, it was largely a dead-end, the industry had already gone in a different direction before their first European flight.

I'm not sure why people don't get it. This is the application promoted by the inventor. If the cubesat can be tracked by anyone it's a simple  transparent experiment.

A cubesat experiment producing enough thrust to be definitively detected from the ground, in a way that rules out alternative explanations (magnetic, atmospheric drag, solar heating, etc) would be large enough to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in a lab on Earth.

[I would suggest three parts. Two with EMDrives, one serving as the control and comms relay. Once released into orbit, the three parts separate and the control-unit measures the rate of drift of the other two. Then you fire the EMDrive on one of the two test units, measure the acceleration, turn it off (perhaps even reverse the thrust), then repeat with the other unit. The demonstrated control would eliminate most alternative explanations, and being measured by the co-orbiting control unit drastically reduces the amount of thrust needed to be detectable.]

We have endless evidence of this with studies of paranormal events. The experts here are the James Randi Foundation and I think they'd be glad to work with Xprize.

It is more like Randi's Million Dollar Paranormal Prize than an X-Prize or previous aviation or transport prize. But you need to remember, the rules of paranormal prizes are not the same as "scientific proof". They don't accept a "95% confidence", they require 99.9999% confidence. Ie, that there's only 1 in a million likelihood of getting the same result by chance.

Again, to meet that level of proof, the EMDrive would have already been demonstrated beyond any reasonable scientific doubt and have already "claimed" the "prize" of aerospace development.

X-Prizes exist for known technology with unknown markets, to try to get them over the hump of demonstrating a commercially viable prototype. EMDrive just needs to exist, the market is already obvious.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real.
With sincere respects to you and your opinion, that's simply not correct.  I can prove why in two words: "Virgin Galactic"

Scaled Composites wasn't demonstrating any novel physics. We'd long flown humans past 100km, no-one was skeptical about whether hybrid-solid motors were real, and so on. The issue was (and remains) whether there's a market for manned suborbital flight, and whether a suborbital hopper can be developed cheap enough to catch that market. That is very similar to older, traditional aviation/transport prizes and contests.

The EMDrive is different. If the effect exist, it will be revolutionary and leapt on by the whole industry. All the risk is in the lab demonstration, none in development after its accepted by the bulk of the scientific community.

Offline Rodal

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #96 on: 05/22/2015 09:36 pm »
I have been arguing (  http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37563.msg1374800#msg1374800 ) that, if there is going to be an X-Prize for "propellant-less propulsion without the need of external force fields", it should involve a controlled demonstration in space.  To show that such a demonstration is within the realm of what is presently possible to attempt, without an X-Prize or with an X-Prize, people are already working on it and giving interviews on their plans. 

Interview with the team leader.

http://n-o-d-e.net/post/119343131451/building-a-diy-emdrive

Project:

https://hackaday.io/project/5596-em-drive



They're doing a Shawyer/Chinese replication attempt @2.4 GHz, and also building a 25 GHz EM Drive with the aim of popping it into a PocketQub and sending it into space (one of them has already sent into space a different project).



Hat-tip to Star One for finding the interview and to DeltaMass for the synopsis.
« Last Edit: 05/23/2015 11:26 am by Rodal »

Offline Hanelyp

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #97 on: 05/23/2015 04:36 am »
Rodal, that is one dodgy looking force balance setup, perfectly oriented to get a force reading from convection.

Offline Prunesquallor

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #98 on: 06/04/2015 01:53 pm »
I'm not a big fan of jumping straight to a flight demonstration.  But if that's what the Foundation wants to do, I think is only makes sense in the context of a staged prize.

Stage 1: Ground demonstration of "propellantless drive" to specified levels of performance and confidence
Stage 2: Space demonstration to specified level of performance

No one would attempt Stage 2 without having accomplished Stage 1 anyway.  Stage 1 alone should be worth some bucks and probably a Nobel Prize.  Given the (at this point) pretty much unknown results of Stage 1, Stage 2 "specified level of performance" may not be practical within "affordable" resources (e.g., spacecraft mass, power requirements).
« Last Edit: 06/04/2015 02:34 pm by Prunesquallor »
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Offline Prunesquallor

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Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #99 on: 06/04/2015 02:18 pm »
For fun, I'd be interested in getting the communities estimation of the relative degree of difficulty vs. degree of evidence associated with various challenge criteria.

What do you think the all-in probability of success is for a challenge to hit:

* 1 Newton of thrust
* 1 Newton of thrust with a 1N/kw power ratio
* 10 Newtons of thrust
* 1000 Micronewtons of thrust in LEO via cubesat

(Obviously your estimation will have to include some estimation for the effect not being real at all).

These are arbitrary numbers, and without context of the implications, I don't see any discriminator.  The link Mulletron provided on the first page of this thread showed some analysis that indicated a performance level of 0.4N/kW was sort of the point where human interplanetary exploration went "revolutionary".  That includes a LOT of assumptions on the operational behavior (and mass) of the thruster, but it's the only SYSTEMS level assessment I've seen.

The total thrust level probably isn't that important as you could presumably "gang" thrusters to get whatever level you want (assuming a N/kW limit).  The criteria should be a performance level that lets you do amazing things without OTHER miracles occurring (a la VASIMR).  Hence a thrust/power.
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