ASPS has released on its homepage an update about the status of “Little Cart” project.
I summarize the goal of the project for those who haven’t followed the whole story: on September 2017 the Association released its latest PNN thruster prototype named F432, which can produce a thrust of 250mg at an input power of 250W. This thrust value has been measured after one minute of operation for two reasons:
- the main problem for PNN is the extreme overheating, in particular in ferrites and dielectrics. Therefore the prototype, which is not equipped with active or passive cooling systems, can’t operate for too long, otherwise it literally melts down
- Laureti observed a curious phenomenon – whose causes are still unknown – inside the thruster, that is it keeps thrusting even after the power has been cut off. Therefore it’s like if the total thrust accumulated over the time and the value detected after one minute might not be the maximum attainable
Since F432 has proved to be an acceptable compromise between performance and resistance to overheating ASPS decided to employ it as the driving unit of a larger demonstration project nicknamed Carretto (Little Cart). As the name suggests it will act as a horse, or rather, an ox (from an adage that Laureti usually quotes when it comes to the development times of PNN: the oxen are slow, but the earth is patient) that will tow a “cart” with on board everything it’s needed to power and to control the thruster. The result is basically a miniature spaceship that is virtually ready for space flight. In the short-term however the aim of Little Cart is to be a technological demonstrator in view of the official presentation. In fact, the mini-spaceship has the great advantage of having onboard the power supply system, unlike the previous prototypes to which energy was supplied by an external power source through a coaxial cable because that solution caused problems during the tests on ballistic pendulum because the power cable had to run along the pendulum arm and reach the thruster, with the risk that the measures would be distorted by the thermal deformations of the cable.
So, from this simple pencil sketch:
they moved on to the design of the various components (in figure a the plate where they’ll be housed):
and thus they proceeded to the actual assembly.
In figures b and c one can observe F432 fixed to the yoke that will attach it to the cart. The latter must be placed along the two vertical parallel structures at a distance from the prototype that does not cause what ASPS call the “electromagnetic bath” problematic. Also, please notice the coaxial cable for the power supply sticking out the thruster and ready to be connected to the cart battery pack:
In figure d one can observe the upper side of the plate designed in figure a where the amplifier (MD 500 U) and the Baofeng transceiver are installed. The latter will be used to transmit via radio the wave train – generated by an external source – used to create the electromagnetic thrust in the dipoles, and here’s the explanation behind the first codename – Telefonone (Big phone) – used for the project.
From the manufacturer’s site it is possible to retrieve the amplifier specs, which meets – of course – the PNN thruster requirements (let’s remember that 432 in the name is the operational frequency in Mhz):
New Pallet Amplifier 500 W 430 MHz. Uses only a MOSFET (Freescale). This solution allows to realize an amplifier without the use of expensive couplers thus reducing the size. Mounted on a base of copper with 10 mm thickness, cs golden and metallic,
Power supply: 48 -50 Volt, 15 – 16 A
Piloting: 7 – 8 W
Dimensions: 100 x 150 x 30 mm
EDIT September 14th 2018
In September 2018 an additional heatsink for F432 MOS has been realized:
It will be connected as soon as possible to Little Cart section where the mosfet is located
About the Baofeng transceiver, I report Laureti’s words from a comment:
Others […] who know the preamplifier (in jargon Baofeng) have tested it and say the same: “it works perfectly at a temperature from -15° to +55°C and up to 3.5g as acceleration stress (from personal experience)”
In practice, although it is a component available at a low price on the market, hypothetically it would meet the requirements to operate in space, or at least in Earth orbit, that is just where ASPS would like to test the system.
At the state of the art the second big problem of PNN is that its operation causes a strong electromagnetic irradiation, with the consequence that all the electronic devices in the proximity of the engine are literally fried. Therefore it’s necessary to shield as much as possible not only the engine but the electronics on the cart too, also because the lithium batteries might explode if subjected to strong irradiation. In figures g and h the complete system ox + cart + shielding can be observed in configuration test attitude.
It is important to report Laureti’s words about impedance decrease, which is the key to improve PNN performance:
The takeoff of PNN from the ground is determined by the fact that: the impedance tends to cancel itself… while the power supply increases … that is, the produced electromagnetic wave tends to disappear at about 10 wavelengths from the source since with PNN the magnetic field of the the displacement current has always proved experimentally its inexistence.
Lorentz (Nobel Prize) also considered the Maxwell’s phantom to be non-existent, namely the displacement current.
as well as others
Maxwell was a mathematician who never did an experiment in his life.
Therefore I say to those who fruitlessly try to understand how EmDrive works: attention to the basics of classical electrodynamics there is something wrong and that inevitably alters the physical perception. Some time ago I used to get very angry about this situation.
Not anymore. My current positions are expressed by these two words in Latin.
Deus qui vult to lose dementat.
Vulgus vult decipi ergo decipiatur. 🙂
The 2 figures in the Impedance Analyzer already show the abatement in F432 of the capacitive impedance X and a certain progress in the lowering of the resistive impedance R … but still not enough for take-off purposes even if, as previously said, a change in the law of inertia could facilitate the thing.
The design and construction of the plate and its components has not been conducted by ASPS but by an external company that showed interest in the project and started a collaboration with the Association. The cart was delivered to ASPS a few days ago.
The company (whose identity is kept strictly confidential), according to the information released by Laureti, is operating in the field of IT. One would have expected a company in some way related to the aerospace industry, instead it is curious that it deals with computers. However, if we think about it for a moment, the electromagnetic propulsion, due to its exquisitely electronic nature, has more to do with that world than with other industrial realities. For example, the company could give a big contribution on issues such as active and passive cooling of electronic components, the processing of more efficient wave trains for the dipoles or the computation of better magnetic fields, as well as it could write simulation programs or piloting software. In short, the potentialities are endless.
In conclusion, here’s the picture of an unused space inside the company that could be a perfect cradle for commercial PNN:
Of course, for the moment it’s just an empty shed but, to quote Doctor Brown from Back to the Future: