Dean Drive
Impulse Engine
Patent Secrets




Patent drawing of an impulse engine Impulse Engine

By Steven Hampton

What Makes It Go



Gravity... Lord of Light:
Matter vying for the same space.
Consciousness IS the space.
Matter and space support each other
Like a dream void of substance,
Or a fragile bubble,
Held apart only by a breath.

Steven's derivative
of The Heart Sutra

How to lose weight without throwing away the ship
– or the passengers

Rockets must lose 90 percent of their weight in fuel just to thrust the ship into orbit. Sometimes they lose human life. Are there other ways to do this without the waste and risk? Dean built a centrifugal force engine that lost 5% of its weight while running on a floor scale.[11] According to many physicists, even that slight weight loss would have been enough to have made us a space-faring race. So why aren’t we walking on the Moon and Mars today thriving with an interplanetary economy?

Sadly for Dean and the rest of us the political atmosphere of the 1950s, and resistance from the scientific community enchanted with the fireworks of rocket propulsion, grounded the Dean Drive.[12]

Impulse engine theory

Centrifugal force from a three frame system: Taking advantage of the third derivative effect.

The Reciprocating Impulse Drive (RID)

Inertial propulsion engine E-8 is a two-cycle, 10 Hz reciprocating impulse drive (RID). It weighs 40 lbs and loses over 27 lbs while running on a floor scale (two different brand-name bath scales) without ejecting mass - using just 160 watts of power. This is a steady weight loss, not a bouncing scale or resonating dial effect, from a dependable centrifugal force engine that will not fly apart. Though my earlier inertial propulsion prototypes run horizontally using “stick-slip” (friction as a back-stop) because they are single-cycle units (early versions of E-4 and E-6 - before recent revisions), a multiple-cycle unit like RID can overcome its inertia vertically because there is no time for “slip”. Also, in-line spring-loaded floor scales have no “stick” to them. To top it off, this engine has built-in acceleration detectors that unmistakably display continuous thrust. Dust particles on the top-plate dance so fast, they clearly float above the engine from the centrifugal force of its whirling “elliptics”.

Power supply PS-3


Power supply PS-3 is a custom dual DC power supply for inertial propulsion engine E-8 (RID). Hand-built from scratch by the author in 1992 for E-4, then beefed up in 1996 for E-8, PS-3 delivers upwards 300 watts if needed.

Unlike prior art this drive is lightweight and has no complicated moving parts to quickly wear-out and break, nor requires regular lubrication. It runs on man’s most convenient form of power – electricity so it is clean and quiet. Because RID’s internal forces align with the direction of travel it’s resilient and dependable.

A megavolt solid-state Impulse Drive could cyclically knock-up electrons of an engineered substrate creating upward drag on its nuclei for levitation.

This impulse engine is composed of two carriages that are suspended by springs on the four rods of a mainframe in-line with a control platform. Each carriage holds two counter-spinning eccentric rotors of solid brass weighing 2 lbs each with a 1.5” radius and spin at 300 RPM. This equates to 5 Hz frequency for each carriage which reciprocates, giving a total engine frequency of 10 Hz (cps). The direction of rectified force is upwards within the mainframe.

The Pendulum Test

A common misconception about the pendulum test is that the drive is supposed to deflect the pendulum far to one side and hold steady. But if the machine could do that, then it could levitate. Levitation is not required to propel us in space.
“Impulse drives” are just that… engines that produce a pulse. A pulse is produced and the system is propelled, and then coasts until the next impulse.
The purpose of the Pendulum Test for inertial propulsion is to show bias: The drive has to work against gravity and recover after each impulse because it is hanging in a gravitational field swinging the pendulum in an upward arc. (This is why a frictionless linear translation test is the best way to define a unidirectional force.)
The big inertial engine E-8 hovers about 1 inch across the line of scrimmage - even with short 6 ft lines. That in itself is more than sufficient to maneuver satellites, spacesuits, asteroids and even propel us to Mars.
Baby steps. Star Trek does not happen overnight.

UPDATE 2014: Keep in mind the pendulum test is a brutal one. Not only does the drive have to translate horizontally, it must swing itself slightly upward in an arc against gravity - much like a playground swing. So a pulsed drive must recover from fallback with each cycle. If the drive - despite falling back - remains on the forward side of zenith centerline while in operation, then it is exhibiting forward thrust and not just oscillating equally across both sides of zenith centerline.

Frictionless translation is the true test of a space drive.  E-8 however, was designed primarily to lose weight - which it does nicely. But on wheels across level rails the main frame rods are only 3/8" diameter (in an effort to make the machine as light as possible) and sag a bit causing binding and not allowing the engine to translate.

In May 2013, shortly after my long-time business partner and friend Craig Herrington passed away, I discovered the perfect timing for Dean Drives. Now the small engines E-4 and E-6 translate quite well. Translation is all that is needed to retrieve asteroids or to get us cheaply to Mars. But at the request of our viewers, we have published a YouTube video of 4 of our engines passing the pendulum test.

Impulse engine E-3 - hanging freely from ceiling

 E-8 Pendulum Test – June 2009

See the YouTube video


Inertial Engine E-8 hanging from four 76-inch long, 75 lb-test steel chains. Reference board is propped-up behind engine and not in contact with machine. Engine frequency while running on its side is 13 - 14 Hz.

Impulse engine E-3 - hanging at rest Impulse engine E-3 - bottom carriage thrusting Impulse engine E-3 - top carriage thrusting

Engine E-8 hanging at rest with its base-plate bottom edge aligned with thick black line on reference board.

Engine running and steadily deflecting from zenith 1-inch plus. Bottom carriage is now providing thrust.

Top carriage is now providing thrust. For reference, the engine base-plate is 3/4-inch thick.

Impulse engine E-3 - bottom carriage thrusting Impulse engine E-3 - top carriage thrusting Impulse engine E-3 - both carriages are in transition

Bottom carriage is about to provide thrust. Note engine is still deflected from zenith - inertial delay at work.

Top carriage is providing thrust.

Both carriages are in transition and engine is still deflected from zenith. Photographed with Kodak DZ1012 IS at 10 mega pixel resolution

Electric Satellite Engine

Because satellite orbits decay and sometimes need to be moved about, they require large tanks of retro jet propellant or dangerous nuclear batteries. This means extra weight, space, and limited life. As such, there is an open market for an efficient, electric satellite engine. The required impulse drive doesn’t have to become totally weightless on the ground but it should lose substantial weight while running. RID is a working prototype of such a drive. Like conventional engines space drives need a load to push, pull or drag and mass in weightless space is a load because of its inherent intractability.

The RID’s steady weight-loss equates to about 70% of the engines’ weight and would be like a 185 lb man in orbit suddenly reducing his weight to 55 lbs; he would be shot through space with 130 lbs of thrust. In this case, the engine would propel itself and anything attached to it with 27 plus lbs of thrust.[13] But this is more than enough force to maneuver a two-ton satellite in orbit. Mounted in a 360-degree gimble and guided by a radio-controlled joystick this engine could place an orbiting satellite anywhere – even into deep space and beyond – using solar or nuclear power. Since this drive functions with five separate inertial frames (it has two carriages) it’s exceptionally efficient at 160 watts avg. or just 1/5th hp.

Brass vs. Tungsten Rotors


Brass vs. Tungsten Rotors: Both rods are the same height, 3.5”. On the left is a brass rod 1.0” diameter and weighs 375 gr. On the right is a .9375” diameter sample tungsten rod weighing in at 669 grams - almost twice as much as the slightly larger brass rod. Tungsten is usually refined as a powder, then cast and compressed under high temperatures. It machines like cast iron and comes in “one inch” diameter rods as shown above – ideal for Dean Drive rod-rotors because the massive bars take up less space, resist corrosion and keep a high sheen for low aerodynamic friction. Because of the prohibitive cost of tungsten, E-8 has brass rotors.

Mission to Mars

The RID was designed to lose weight only and impel payload already in orbit. However, from the Moon’s surface RID would lift-off and attain orbit with 20 lbs of thrust because the Moon’s gravity is one-sixth g. Though the weight of the engine and its rotors are reduced, the rotor's inertial mass are not and provides the same force as on Earth (a dumbbell in space has the same intractance as it does on Earth but without the weight). From the surface of Mars RID would lift-off with 12 lbs thrust, Mar’s gravity being about one-third g.

Impulse engine E-8 on balance beam

The Balance Beam Test: The balanced beam is the equivalent to weightlessness in space. The forces inherent in rotary motion allow E-8 to slam the weighted end of the beam to the floor and hold it's end up while running. Even though it is a rigid beam, the engine has to work against the reactive bounce-back of the beam from the weight stack with every impulse.


Watch lift-off on balance beam:


Mars’ orbit swings it close to Earth once every two earth-years where there is a 6-month window of space travel. With conventional rocket powered spacecraft a manned trip to the red planet would take the full 6 months, then a 12-month wait for the orbits to conjunct again, then another 6-month trip back home to Earth.

Eight RID engines (8 E-8’s) ganged together in free space could safely thrust humans to Mars within a month at a fraction of the cost of dangerous rockets. Once activated, in a short period of time, the spacecraft would impel smoothly to a very high rate of speed. To slow and brake the craft, the 16-cycle engine would simply be turned 180º then reactivated – all mounted safely inside the ship for ease of maintenance and omni-directional control.

Impulse engine E-8 on floor scale at rest Impulse engine E-8 on floor scale running
E-8 weighing 40 lbs E-8 weighing 13 lbs
Out-Running Gravity

A. Engine at rest and loosely tethered RID on standby weighs 40 lbs and adaptor table weighs 9 lbs totaling 49 lbs. Note position of brass rod-rotors and spacing between the carriages.

B. Engine is running with carriages desynchronized (180°out of phase with each other, or normal phasing) producing a steady weight loss of over 27 lbs, the scale resolving at under 22 lbs. Note brass rod-rotor’s position relative to carriages (also with engine off, these heavy rotors would normally drop and not rest horizontally). Unfortunately camera flash overwhelms the LED indicators on the control panel. Photographed with Kodak 200 speed film.


4-cycle Dean Drive E-5

Slingshot to Saucercraft

Shortly after the dawn of man – long before we invented the wheel – we harnessed the centrifugal force of the rotary slingshot. Since then there’ve been no further developments of the potential energy that physics terms “angular momentum”. It has remained locked up in rotary motion. Hold a spinning gyroscope and twist it perpendicular to its plane of rotation and you’ll feel a delayed but powerful reactive force between its two inertial frames. This is the potential that is temporality stored in angular momentum. But in gyroscopes and flywheels this potential is spread evenly about the rotor’s orbit.

Electric Flight

Electric Flight: Concept drawing of a trans-orbital electromagnetic hovercraft utilizing radial vectored rotors to produce lift. A Ferro-fluid guidance system about the perimeter tilts the craft in the direction of destination and also by slowing down the rotors in that quadrant. The radar dome on top of the canopy also houses the emergency parachute and a communications link. Solar panels line the top half of the craft to help power the electric saucer.

Eccentric rotors, on the other hand, do not have a smooth, even angular momentum so can be configured into oscillatory motion whereby surge can manifest along the plane of rotation. Then, by shifting this two-frame oscillator complex within its third-frame housing to increase the CAT, angular momentum can become kinetic and the rotor’s centrifugal force is no longer balanced by a centripetal. For a brief moment in an eccentric rotors’ cycle, these two opposing forces are separated and a powerful burst of energy is efficiently released at the expense of electricity. One day soon – like the horse and buggy – tires, roads and bridges will be remnants of the past, thanks to Norman L. Dean's inertial propulsion drive.

Steven M. Hampton
Chief Engineer
Centrifugål Dynamics Co.
email: Thrust@centurylink.net

Those who have contributed to the development of these engines:

Norman L. Dean
William O. Davis, PhD
G. Harry Stine
Norman Parrish, PhD
John Campbell, Jr.
Craig “T” Herrington
Sensei John Angelos
Cris Angelos, PhD
Lucjan Shila
Wayne Burnett, PhD
Thomas Valone, PhD
Kent Hanna
Steve Hanna
Larry Goff
Robert Moreno
Gary French
Glen A. Robertson
Mike Gamble
And many others too numerous to mention...


Inertial Space Drive: 9 lb centrifugal force engine accelerates 2g with 20 lb surge propulsion.




There are various ways to test for thrust or impulse from a closed propulsion system – all have disadvantages. But only the pendulum test allows for the drive to be observed from one vantage point with the lowest intractance. Since 1993, I have experimented with various pendulum configurations on nine different inertial drives that I’ve designed and built. So, I would like to clear up a few common misconceptions on how impulse drives react with a hanging pendulum. First, let’s review how this test came to be so recognized as a means to measure linear force from such drives.

A Brief History of Swing

“The first known use of a pendulum to test thrust was done in 1915 by Robert Goddard using a ballistic pendulum. Benjamin Thompson a century earlier determined the speed of a projectile when it was fired into a heavy plate suspended by a pendulum to calculate the speed of the projectile. Goddard modified this by attaching a rocket to a heavy pendulum and then igniting it to observe how high the pendulum rose. A better procedure was soon devised in which the force exerted on a test stand was measured continuously by observing the compression of a spring, then later, by a strain gauge attached to the test stand.” (Raymond Friedman, A History of Jet Propulsion, Including Rockets © 2010)

The Turtle is in The Race

Once again, the ballistic pendulum test must be modified to accurately test impulse drives. Since the forces involved here are generated in cyclic manner, the test must be viewed like the earliest version as it was used to test cannons. A continuous deflection of the pendulum from zenith will not result with these drives as can be expected when testing jets or rockets.

According to the inventor Norman L. Dean (who invented the earlier version of our drives and was the actual inventor the gyroscopic navigation guidance system used today on air and spacecraft), to overcome gravity, a device needs to impulse 7.4 Hz (cps or cycles per second). Our drives operate at around 4 Hz and a continuous thrust is not needed in space when a series of impulses will do. A common misconception about the pendulum test is that the drive is supposed to deflect the pendulum far to one side and hold steady. But if the machine could do that, then it could levitate. Levitation is not required to propel us in space. “Impulse drives” are just that – machines that produce a pulse. A pulse is generated and the system is propelled, and then (in space) it coasts until the next impulse which is additive.

Hang ‘Em Low

The real purpose of the pendulum test for inertial propulsion is to show bias: The drive has to work against gravity and recover after each impulse because it is hanging in a gravitational field swinging the pendulum in an upward arc against gravity. Remember, we are still within a gravity field. Amazingly, the length of the lines has little effect on the results. But what the lines are made of does: The heavier the lines, the less stray line oscillation. So which pendulum test is best and true?

Fighting Gravity

Many physicists advocate a 4-point pendulum test where the lines terminate above at four separate places. However, this forces the drive to have to lift itself in order to deflect from zenith – if it could do that, then it could levitate – we are testing for thrust generated horizontally, not vertically.

Playground Chronicles

Remember the rush of the playground swing? A 2-point zenith termination (at the top of the swing set) allows for the least amount of resistance needed to get yourself high in the air. But in order to really get ourselves up there, we had to kick-up our legs in an upward arc. Kicking our legs out parallel to the ground (as with a 4-point test) would hinder the swing: When testing for thrust from an In-Space drive, gravity must be neutralized. So, in the 2-point pendulum test we have discovered that by tilting the front of the engine 10 degrees upward while hanging on the pendulum (using light chains), gives us that arc needed to follow the swing of the lines with the least amount of gravitational resistance as can be seen from our accelerometer test results. The negative spikes and variance in the waveform can be resolved with better machining of the drive because like all my other drives, I hand built this machine.

Steven M. Hampton                                                                            Oct. 31, 2020


Endnotes / Bibliography

[11] John W. Campbell, Jr., The Space Drive Problem, Astounding Science Fact and Fiction, June 1960, pg 98.
[12] John W. Campbell, Jr., That Fourth Law of Motion, Analog, May 1962, pgs 4 -6, 177.
[13] Like any other form of propulsion, inertial engines need a load or enough mass to stabilize the mainframe of the drive. In the case with RID’s weight loss demonstration gravity is the load. In space it would be the inertial mass of the satellite or spacecraft that would provide the load.

Photographs and drawings by Steven Hampton © 2007, 2013, 2017


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