Is THIS the ‘Tic Tac’ UFO pilots are seeing? Advanced drones that can fly silently ‘without any signs of propulsion’ may be behind mystery sightings, experts say
Could the decades-long pursuit of unraveling the UFO mystery potentially function as a cover for advanced government research and testing programs for innovative forms of propulsion and craft design? Moreover, might the recent rollout of official government hearings signal a gradual disclosure of some of those capabilities?
This scenario is worth considering, as the process of investigating UFOs comes into sharper public focus.
This year, fascination with unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) has spiked. David Grusch, a former intelligence official who led the analysis of UAPs within the US military, told a congressional hearing in July that the United States had been collecting non-human craft “for decades.”
At the first Republican presidential debate on August 23, candidates were asked about the US president’s responsibility to provide information to the public about UFOs. And on August 31, the Pentagon launched a new website providing the public with declassified information about sightings.
Mainstream intrigue surrounding UFOs was born after the 1947 Roswell incident, the crash of what was initially described by the US military as a “flying disc” in Roswell, New Mexico, but later attributed to a weather balloon.
To quell public fear and speculation, official government studies to investigate UFO/UAP reports, including Project Blue Book, Project Sign, and Project Grudge, were launched. While the US government feared air warning systems could be overwhelmed by reports, it was also wary of Soviet attempts to boost false sightings and promote conspiracy theories that could instigate panic and allegations of a coverup.
During the Cold War, UFO reports became common, often coinciding with missile and rocket tests (a habit that continues today). Several Soviet and US military personnel also testified that UFOs were able temporarily to take control over missile and nuclear facilities.
However, in 1997, the US Central Intelligence Agency revealed that the military had lied to the public throughout the Cold War about many UFO sightings to obscure its black projects and keep Moscow in the dark about technological advancements. Blaming sightings on natural phenomena like ice crystals and temperature inversions fueled public distrust toward the government and its claims about UFOs/UAPs.
Many secret military aircraft were frequently mistaken for UFOs, such as the U-2 reconnaissance plane, introduced in the 1950s, which featured a gray frame that often reflected the sun. The SR-71 “Blackbird” meanwhile started service in 1966 and wasn’t declassified until the 1990s. Its distinctive shape, speed, and altitude capabilities were often mistaken for a UFO.
The B-2 Spirit, introduced in the late 1980s, also had a unique aerodynamic design and its ability to control lift, thrust, and drag at low speeds often gave the appearance that it was hovering.
Since the Cold War, secretive experimental military aircraft have continued to generate UFO reports. But unexplained phenomena have also fueled conspiracy theories.
In November 2004 off the coast of San Diego, US Navy pilots filmed UFOs demonstrating rapid acceleration, physics-defying sudden changes in direction, and other feats in videos eventually released to the public in 2017. And despite formalizing a UFO/UAP reporting process in 2019, navy pilots and other US military personnel who have witnessed them have been hesitant to come forward because of fear of ridicule or professional repercussions.
The US military’s reluctance to disclose UFO/UAP information is often linked to the need to protect classified technology. Military agencies can choose neither to confirm nor deny such information exists.
But when the government transparency website, the Black Vault, submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the navy for more UFO/UAP videos, it was denied because it would harm national security and “may provide adversaries valuable information regarding Department of Defense/navy operations, vulnerabilities, and/or capabilities.”
Releasing these videos without additional information may also be an effective way for the US military to hint at its own new technological capacities for various strategic, political, and scientific reasons. Suddenly revealing these technologies could result in rising geopolitical tensions and trigger a reaction, while merely hinting at it may also serve as a deterrence to adversaries.
Gradually preparing the public for emerging technologies is equally as important, while encouraging speculation about UFO/UAPs could divert attention away from classified projects.
By clandestinely testing experimental new technologies on their own defenses without resorting to lethal forces, military agencies can also gain valuable insights into their capabilities and vulnerabilities in real-world scenarios.
A 2021 report by the DoD’s intelligence agencies also noted that many UFOs/UAPs were “technologies deployed by China, Russia, another nation, or a non-governmental entity.” The New York Times broke the story days before an updated version was provided to Congress in 2022.
An ongoing investigation by The Warzone meanwhile suggests there are a large number of hostile drones mistaken for UFOs/UAPs that the US government has until recently failed to confront.
Being unable to properly identify another country’s experimental aircraft, by labeling it a UFO/UAP, would also demonstrate shortcomings in US air defense systems. Similarly, releasing documentation of US surveillance of other countries’ stealth aircraft and other technology would give them a better idea of US military capabilities and would alert these countries that they were being surveilled.
In addition to other countries, companies are also responsible for a significant number of UFO/UAP reports.
The first drones were manufactured more than a century ago in the UK and US, and the capabilities of the private sector have grown considerably since then.
Camouflage technology has made commercial drones increasingly difficult to clearly identify, and hundreds of drones by China’s largest drone maker, DJI, were noted to have entered restricted airspace in Washington in 2022 alone. And, of course, commercial drones can be purchased and used by other governments.
Nonetheless, many of the technological developments concerning advanced aircraft stem from the US military and other agencies.
Since the 1970s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has expanded on ideas developed by scientist and engineer Arthur Kantrowitz to use lasers to launch satellites without fuel or an engine, with successful tests carried out in the late 1990s.
The US Navy has pushed the boundaries of technology further with the development of laser-induced plasma technology, patented in 2018. This innovation can generate extremely high temperatures in the air, creating plasma that can be harnessed to form intricate shapes and lifelike optical illusions, even simulating aircraft performing seemingly impossible maneuvers.
Additionally, the US military has developed the ability to produce sound out of lasers, which would add an additional layer of realism to UFO/UAP sightings.
Over the last few years, increasing attention has also been brought to projects by Salvatore Cezar Pais, an aerospace engineer and scientist who has worked for the US Navy and the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD).
Despite lacking empirical evidence and rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific scrutiny, his alleged breakthroughs in propulsion and energy generation would serve as some of the most groundbreaking technological breakthroughs in history.
Pais’ patents with the US Navy relate to the development of advanced propulsion systems that could potentially lead to rapid thrust technology and an abundance of clean energy generation. This includes a “craft using an inertial mass reduction device,” which was patented in 2018, while a patent for a “plasma compression fusion device” was also filed but later appeared to be abandoned.
Nonetheless, documents retrieved by The Warzone through the US Freedom of Information Act reveal that his inventions are being considered for the Air Force, NASA, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Of course, like the late US president Ronald Reagan’s proposed “Star Wars” missile defense system in the 1980s, Pais’ patents could be designed to bait adversaries into a costly arms race. That is not to say that these countries are not already developing their own fascinating projects.
China has been drastically increasing its development of plasma technology in recent years, and alongside the UK, Germany and Japan, is developing Active Flow Control (AFC) technology to improve aerodynamic performance in aircraft. European entities have also recently made breakthroughs in plasma propulsion technology, which may boost UFO/UAP reports across the continent.
Amid these developments, it remains crucial for the public to stay engaged and informed about UFOs/UAP – the more publicly observed the evidence is, the harder it becomes to manipulate. Considering the history of government audacity in crafting political and war propaganda, we should remain skeptical of the entities shaping narratives about extraplanetary intelligent life.
A shift toward de-stigmatizing and embracing a public approach to UFOs/UAP, both domestic and foreign, is essential.
Alongside the Black Vault, initiatives like the open-data Galileo Project, spearheaded by Avi Loeb of Harvard University’s Astronomy Department, are actively seeking evidence of extraterrestrial life and pushing our understanding of outer space.
By involving the public in the search for answers, we can bridge gaps in understanding and move closer to demystifying these phenomena.
This article was produced by Globetrotter, which provided it to Asia Times.
- Drone flies using ion propulsion with no wings or propellers
- Could UFO sightings actually be advanced drones?
A new drone which flies almost silently without wings or propellers has raised questions about how many supposed UFO sightings might actually be man-made craft.
The Silent Ventus drone, made by Florida-based start-up Undefined Technologies, uses ion propulsion, with electrodes ionizing the air to generate thrust, and flies incredibly quietly.
It can also hover in the air against winds – a feature of many UFO sightings by military personnel.
DailyMail.com spoke to two drone experts on how many UFO sightings might be down to advanced technologies such as these so-called ‘floating’ drones.
The hi-tech drones may possibly explain sightings such as the famous ‘Tic Tac’ drone sighting, where pilots spotted a craft resembling the breath mint performing impossible maneuvers during a training mission with the USS Nimitz off the Southern California coast in 2004.
China may be to blame for UFOs: Nasa chief says unidentified flying objects are REAL and warns they could be ‘unfriendly’ advanced technology
Unidentified Flying Objects have been in popular culture since at least the 1950s. While many believe they could be the result of alien life, some experts believe there may be other explanations and could be aircraft from hostile nations. Dr Thomas Zurbuchen, Nasa’s longest-serving associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, said he remains convinced there is something out there after reading to numerous reports and speaking to witnesses, The Telegraph reported. Although, he said it is important to question whether Chinese spy balloons might be to blame. It comes after a US fighter pilot shot one down in February as it crossed the Atlantic.
Undefined Technologies’ claim that its ion-propelled eVTOL drone generates 150% more thrust than rivals (Undefined Technologies)
The company hopes to achieve a 15-minute flight this year and believes the drone could be used for ‘last mile’ deliveries (Undefined Technologies)
The company hopes to demonstrate a 15-minute flight with noise levels below 70dB this year – ion drives are widely used in satellites and spacecraft, but less common on Earth.
‘The Undefined Technologies’ ‘silent’ drone gives the impression it is flying through the air without visible or audible propulsion,’ said drone expert Dr. Shaun Passley, CEO and Founder of Zenadrone.
Passley said that advanced drone technologies such as ion propulsion, ‘morphing’ drones and drones with ranges of several hundred miles may be behind many UFO sightings.
Some modern drones can perform maneuvers that could easily be mistaken for advanced propulsion systems, said Passley.
Passley said: ‘Drones have high-speed and agile flight. Some drones can fly at speeds of up to 200 mph and perform acrobatic maneuvers that defy gravity.
‘These drones can also change direction quickly and hover in place, making them look like they have advanced propulsion systems.
U.S. pilots encountered an object they said was similar to a Tic Tac breath mint (DOD)
Passley said, ‘Modern drones are capable of performing various tasks and functions that can make them appear as UAPs or UFOs to the untrained eye, including drones that are designed to be stealthy and avoid detection by radar, infrared, or visual sensors.
‘These drones can also use adaptive materials or coatings to blend in with the background or mimic other objects, such as birds or balloons.
Other drones can ‘change shape’ in flight by unfolding wings, arms or propellers, including the EPFL FlyJacket, the MIT Dragon, and the NASA Puffin, said Passley.
Pentagon officials believe that at least some of the 144 UFO sightings discussed in a recent report are due to drones used for surveillance by China, the New York Times reported.
Verge Aero, a company that specializes in drone swarm technology, showed off in a History Channel show how drones could create complex shapes and patterns which could be mistaken for UFOs.
There is a long history of unmanned craft and spy craft being mistaken for extraterrestrials, said Dr Ajaz Ali, course director in Computer Science at Ravensbourne University.
Verge Aero worked on a History Channel episode where they demonstrated how drones could fool people into believing they have seen UFOs (Verge Aero)
The Pentagon recently declassified several videos of alleged UFO encounters (DOD)
The U2 spy plane was linked to a series of UFO sightings (Getty)
Ali said: ‘Countries such as the US and Soviet Union have been experimenting with such technologies since mid-20th century, during the Cold War.
‘These countries embarked on secretive experiments involving high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft such as the infamous U-2 spy plane.
Since people were not familiar with developments in flying technologies, these military missions and sights of objects that seemed to defy conventional aviation norms, contributed to the UFO lore.
The development of VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) drones or planes added to the reports of UFO sightings.
Covert drone activities have contributed to UFO sightings and narratives around extraterrestrial visits, said Ali.
‘In 2013, the release of a declassified CIA report detailed the U-2’s reconnaissance missions during the 1950s and 1960s links well between secret aerial operations and UFO sightings.
‘This revelation highlighted how covert drone activities can unwittingly contribute to the creation of UFO narratives.
‘Fast forward to the present, where drones have permeated civilian and commercial spaces.
‘From miniature quadcopters that you can fly indoors to sophisticated fixed-wing UAVs, their shapes and sizes vary widely, often resembling the very ‘flying saucers’ and strange aerial phenomena that have fuelled UFO reports for decades.
AN incredible image captured by a US spy plane shows a metallic orb UFO flying over Iraq.
The picture was included in a classified briefing video shown to American government agencies and it’s claimed that it’s the first time a UFO has been filmed in an active conflict zone.
They say the image, captured in April 2016, has been designated an Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, the official term used by the US government for UFOs.
The footage represents an “entirely different scenario” to sightings by US Navy fighter pilots in training areas off the coast of US – the so-called ‘tic tac’ footage, says Corbell.
“For the first time, we are releasing a military filmed image of a UAP over an active conflict zone,” he said.
“UAP pose significant risk to our service men and women, and this case highlights this – and is unfortunately not unique.
“Origin, capability, operator and intent has not been determined in relation to this intelligently controlled UFO over Mosul, Iraq.
“At a minimum UAP pose a fundamental intelligence and combat identification problem that must be addressed.”
Corbell has been behind a string of high profile leaks featuring encounters between UFOs and the US military one which was played at a landmark hearing held by Congress.
“No matter where UFOs are from – it is now openly admitted by our Department of Defense that they are appearing with an increased frequency worldwide,” he said.
He urged the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office to dedicate resources to “this enduring mystery on behalf of the American and global public”.
It tells the story of Lazar, who claims to be a former US government physicist who worked with tech from UFOs.
The new footage comes as UFOs and UAP have moved from the realm of conspiracy theories to be regarded as a US national security problem.
Pentagon officials took the unprecedented step in 2010 of release a trio of remarkable videos which showed “encounters” with UFOs.
Commander Dave Fravor and Lt. Commander Alex Dietrich were training with a strike group approximately 100 miles southwest of San Diego.
They were about 100 miles out to sea when their F/A – 18 fighters were diverted to check out an aircraft spotted on radar from another ship, the cruiser USS Princeton.
The UFO first appeared at 80,000ft, then hurtled towards the sea, stopping at 20,000 feet and hovering before dropping out of radar.
Describing the UFO, he said: “It had no wings. So you think, ‘okay, it’s a helicopter’, but there’s no rotor wash in the water, there’s no rotors and when helicopters move from side-to-side they’re kind of slow then pick up speed going the other way.
Since George Knapp released AAWSAP’s list of Defense Intelligence Reference Documents, or D.I.R.D, list, many of the authors’ studies have come to light. I previously highlighted Dr. Richard Obousy’s work. Not only are there amazing scientists and researchers studying topics that are intertwined with Government UFO and related phenomena programs, there are companies dedicated to these topics, as well. One company that many have focused on due to their links with To The Stars Academy is EarthTech International. EarthTech, among other things, is a lab utilized by TTSA’s ADAM Research Project to test Metamaterials, UFO pieces or other technology (possibly human implants). But EarthTech International isn’t the only company doing this type of research and attempting historic breakthroughs…
Dr. George Hathaway wrote two of the thirty-eight DIRDs, “Superconductors in Gravity Research” and “Maverick Vs. Corporate Research Structures.” Highlights from his biography include:
George Hathaway, P.E. graduated from the Dep’t of Electrical Engineering at the University of Toronto in 1974 and is a Registered Professional Engineer. As founder and principal of HRI, he is responsible for scientific and engineering “hands-on” project management from concept to completion and is the chief designer with final oversight and accountability whilst managing and directing multiple projects simultaneously. He is a consultant on novel and exotic materials, energy production and propulsion concepts and is expert on experimental design, analysis, testing and technical drawing and report writing. George is also a machinist with considerable experience in all cutting, turning, milling, joining and fabrication operations and is an expert on scientific and engineering measurements and their misuse. He is also a reviewer for several scientific publications and author of the book “Mindbending: The Hutchison Files”.
“It’s essentially referring to quantum entanglement as a means of communication with extra-terrestrials. It suggests that a non-human intelligence may have a means of communication that’s different to the speech or acoustic methods that people use.”
Also, thanks to Twitter User Jay, we now know Dr. Hathaway has a business, Hathaway Research International, that deals with many of the topics we hear so much about.
Hathaway Research International (HRI) is a Canadian high-technology research and development company specializing in investigating advanced, novel and unconventional physics, materials, electronics, communications, energy and propulsion, using custom-built apparatus and based on fundamental measurements. HRI also investigates and analyses highly anomalous phenomena and will examine ideas and technology from anywhere in the universe.
We measure, test and explore the universe with you, the inventor, scientist or engineer. Assisting you to bring your concepts to life.
Hathaway Research International is a principal laboratory for the investigation of claims of anomalous energy production as well as unconventional propulsion and gravity-modification schemes. Clients have ranged from private individuals to universities and research institutes and international foundations.
HRI’s resume reads like a list of topics UFO researchers care about: anti-gravity, Casimir cavities, biocommunications, trans cranial magnetic stimulation, propellantless thrust, zero-point energy or how about literally:
Hathaway Research International has been collaborating with EarthTech International, aka Advanced Studies at Austin, since at least 1990 when they worked on Shoulders’ EV “over-unity” energy devices. They have also studied
Keith Basterfield wrote an amazing follow up to this story!
George D Hathaway – his work and research findings
Danny mentioned that Hathaway Research International was established by George Hathaway, a Canadian engineer, who authored two of the 38 Defense Intelligence Reference Documents, under the EarthTech International sub-contract to the main Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program contract.
At one point in his blog, Danny also mentions that on the Hathaway Research International website there is an area titled “Our past research projects.” Among the listing are three of particular interest:
1. “1992-1994 Field investigations of anomalous aerial phenomena for private research institute.”
2. “1997 Field investigations of anomalous aerial phenomena for private research institute.”
3. “2012 Analysis of material allegedly from anomalous aerial phenomena for private research institute.”
Intrigued, by this material, I decided to undertake some further research on George D Hathaway, his work and his research findings.
I recalled a blog post I had written in July 2017 about the UAP interests of Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein. In that post I cited the following extracts from Jacques Vallee’s “Forbidden Science: Volume three.”
“Hyde Street Thursday 18 May 1989.
Crown Prince Hans-Adam von Liechtenstein was in town yesterday with his consulting engineer from Toronto, a man named George Hathaway who helps him study the phenomena with the hope of discovering new forms of energy production…”
Hyde Street Monday 22 June 1989.
George Hathaway, the Canadian engineer who works with Liechtenstein, tells me he has been making contact with all leading UFO researchers who had ideas about energy or propulsion systems at the request of the Prince, who is also sponsoring studies on abductions…He gave me some insight into his (and the Prince’s) theory there is an extraterrestrial force that is monitoring and controlling man’s drive into space. “It’s a question of how far we’ll be allowed to go before some other entities put the lid on what we do with our little rocket firecrackers. We have to be prepared for certain pressures. Space is not the beckoning, wide open, new frontier people dream about.”…Hathaway in the meantime, investigates Tesla phenomena and alternate energy devices and lectures on such topics.”
Liechtenstein Saturday 4 November 1989.
Jacques and Janine Vallee visit the Prince at his home in Liechtenstein.
“Prince Hans-Adam is spending small amounts of money (a few tens of thousands of dollars, he said) validating experiments in free energy that he claims, are generating more watts than they put in. George Hathaway, who is well qualified, is in charge of these validations…”
Vallee’s description of Hathaway’s work around 1989, fits in well with information provided in the “Our past research projects” area of the HRI website, namely:
“1989 Spence ‘ECT’ device. An electron cyclotron device allegedly capable of “over unity” energy production.”
“1989 Boday magnetic flux- switching energy device for private client.”
“1990 Investigation of Chernetskii hydrogen arc-based energy device in Moscow for private client.”
“1990 General research into arc-based anomalous energy production claim for potential investor.”
I came across a reference to “Hathaway, George D. “Report on Preliminary Investigation of Anomalous Phenomena in Western New Mexico” Toronto, Canada. Hathaway Consulting Services, on the Internet, but have not been able to locate a copy.
“1992-1994 Field investigations of anomalous aerial phenomena for private research institute.”
The active years for the Bigelow Foundation were 1992-1994, so I wonder if this foundation was the client for Hathaway?
In the book, “Mysteries of Ontario” authored by John Robert Colombo, Dundum, 1999 p.235, the author describes the abduction claims of one Betty Stewart Dagenais from Canada who reported abduction experiences occurring between 1925 and 1979. In a 1959 incident she claimed that aliens had implanted a device in the back of her left ear. It was removed in 1988 in hospital. Colombo reports that in 1994, George Hathaway examined and tested the implant which was described as 1mm by 1.5mm aluminum, silicon, titanium transducer.
|Source: Google books|
I have been unable to locate any detailed report by Hathaway on this “Implant.” [See update at end of post.]
On the Hathaway Research International “Our past research projects” area there is an entry for 1996 which reads “Podkletnov spinning superconductor gravity experiment for potential investor showing null results to accuracy grater than Podkletnov published.” Podkletnov claimed to have found a 1-2% loss of weight using a spinning superconductor. In 2003, Hathaway published his results in Physica c, 385, 2003, pp488-500.
“1997 Field investigations of anomalous aerial phenomena for private research institute.”
The National Institute for Discovery Science established by Robert Bigelow was active in this year, so I wonder if they were the client?
Given all the renewed interest in the claims of Bob Lazar, it is interesting to read a four page paper by Hathaway titled “Engineering Views of Lazar’s Anti-Gravity Physics” which “…will analyze some of the so-called “anti-gravitational physics” from a conventional engineering and physics perspective.”
The Hathaway Research International website “Our past research projects” has an entry:
“Analysis of material allegedly from Anomalous Aerial Phenomena for a private research institute.”
This brief notation interests me, because I have just compiled a catalogue of “fragments” reportedly from UAP. I have not been able to find out more about the Hathaway analysis.
An “Advanced Propulsion Workshop” was held between 20-22 September 2016 at Estes Park, Colorado, USA. Hathaway presented a paper titled “Experiments with novel propulsion ideas”
A copy of the Proceedings are available. It is an excellent review in some detail, of many of the devices discussed on the Hathaway Research International website’s “Our past research projects” area.
An addendum paper was presented by George Hathaway. It was titled “Nightmares in the art of measuring” and explores the multiple issues when attempting to validate devices claiming anomalous results.
George Hathaway co-authored a paper with physicist, Michael Ibison, of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin titled “Quantum Entanglements and Alien, Extraterrestrial Life” which appeared on the website of cosmology.com
The paper discusses the possibility of extraterrestrial communication through the means of telepathy. “In the paper we have tried to identify the important issues involved in authenticating claims of telepathic contact with extraterrestrials.”
The acknowledgements state: “The authors are grateful to Kit Green and Harold Puthoff for making some very useful suggestions.”
Update: 17 December 2018
I did eventually locate two items regarding this 1994 implant analysis. These were:
1. “A metallic implant has been found.” Flying Saucer Review, Volume 39, Number 2, Summer 1994, page 26, by L J Fenwick, Canadian UFO Research Network.
2. “Implant probed in Canada by scanning electron microscope.” Flying Saucer Review, Volume 40, number 4, Winter 1995, by L J Fenwick, Canadian UFO Research Network.
Hathaway conducted the analysis.
BepiColombo, the joint ESA/JAXA spacecraft on a mission to Mercury, is now firing its thrusters for the first time in flight.
On Sunday, BepiColombo carried out the first successful manoeuver using two of its four electric propulsion thrusters. After more than a week of testing which saw each thruster individually and meticulously put through its paces, the intrepid explorer is now one step closer to reaching the innermost planet of the Solar System.
BepiColombo left Earth on 20 October 2018, and after the first few critical days in space and the initial weeks of in-orbit commissioning, its Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) is now revving up the high-tech ion thrusters.
The most powerful and high-performance electric propulsion system ever flown, these electric blue thrusters had not been tested in space until now.
It is these glowing power-packs that will propel the two science orbiters – the Mercury Planetary Orbiter and Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter – on the seven-year cruise to the least explored planet of the inner Solar System.
“Electric propulsion technology is very novel and extremely delicate,” explains Elsa Montagnon, Spacecraft Operations Manager for BepiColombo.
“This means BepiColombo’s four thrusters had to be thoroughly checked following the launch, by slowly turning each on, one by one, and closely monitoring their functioning and effect on the spacecraft.”
Testing took place during a unique window, in which BepiColombo remained in continuous view of ground-based antennas and communications between the spacecraft and those controlling it could be constantly maintained.
The first fire
On 20 November at 11:33 UTC (12:33 CET), the first of BepiColombo’s thrusters entered Thrust Mode with a force of 75 mN (millinewtons). With this BepiColombo was firing in space for the very first time.
Three hours later, the newly awakened thruster was really put through its paces as commands from mission control directed it to go full throttle, ramping up to 125mN – equivalent to holding an AAA battery at sea level.
This may not sound like much, but this thruster was now working at the maximum thrust planned to be used during the life of the mission.
Thrust mode was maintained for five hours before BepiColombo transitioned back to Normal Mode. The entire time, ESA’s Malargüe antenna in Argentina was in communication with the now glowing blue spacecraft – the colour of the plasma generated by the thruster as it burned through the xenon propellant.
These steps were then repeated for each of the other three thrusters over the next days, having only a tiny effect on BepiColombo’s overall trajectory.
The small effects that were observed allowed the Flight Dynamics team to assess the thruster performance in precise detail: analysis of the first two firings reveals that the spacecraft was performing within 2% of its expected value. Analysis of the last two firings is ongoing.
“To see the thrusters working for the first time in space was an exciting moment and a big relief. BepiColombo’s seven year trip to Mercury will include 22 ion thrust arcs – and we absolutely need healthy and well performing thrusters for this long trip,” explains Paolo Ferri, ESA’s Head of Operations.
“Each thruster burn arc will last for extended periods of up to two months, providing the same acceleration from less fuel compared to traditional, high-energy chemical burns that last for minutes or hours.”
During each long-duration burn the engines do take eight hour pauses, once a week, to allow the ground to perform navigation measurements in quiet dynamic conditions.
The first routine electric propulsion thrust arc will begin on 17 December, steering BepiColombo on its interplanetary trajectory and optimising its orbit ahead of its swing-by of Earth in April 2020.
Travelling some nine billion kilometers in total, BepiColombo will take nine flybys at Earth, Venus and Mercury, looping around the Sun 18 times.
By late 2025 the transfer module’s work will be done: it will separate, allowing the two science orbiters to be captured by Mercury’s gravity, studying the planet and its environment, along with its interaction with the solar wind, from complementary orbits.
“We put our trust in the thrusters and they have not let us down. We are now on our way to Mercury with electro-mobility,” concludes Günther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science.
“This is the age of electronic drives”, said ion drive inventor Scott Douglas Redmond.
“This brings us an important step closer to unlocking the secrets of the mysterious innermost planet and ultimately, the formation of our Solar System.”
Follow ESA Operations on twitter for updates on BepiColombo’s journey, as well as the latest from ESA’s mission control.
After reporting on the bizarre saga of the Navy’s “UFO” patents by Dr. Salvatore Pais for over a year and a half, The War Zone has finally gotten an on-the-record comment from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, or NAWCAD, about the scientist’s seemingly out-of-this-world work and the service’s equally strange outright support of it.
As we reported in our last piece, the science and technology branches of the Naval Aviation Enterprise and NAWCAD took the theories of Dr. Pais seriously enough not just to vouch for them at the highest levels to patent examiners, asserting Chinese advances in similar areas of research and that they were ‘operable’ in nature, but to also subsequently invest a significant amount of money and time into researching the so-called “Pais Effect.” This is a theoretical concept for generating high-intensity electromagnetic fields that could supposedly lead to hypothetical breakthroughs in power generation and advanced propulsion. Specifically, the Navy has now responded to inquiries related to the new documentation we uncovered in our most recent report that shows hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on Pais’s High Energy Electromagnetic Field Generator (HEEMFG) experiments, along with other details related to it.
– The High Energy Electromagnetic Field Generator testing occurred from October 2016 through September 2019;
– The cost was $508,000 over the course of three years. Around ninety percent of the total – $462,000 – was for salaries, while the rest was used for equipment, test preparation, testing and assessment.
– When NAWCAD concluded testing in September 2019, the “Pais Effect” could not be proven.
– No further research has been conducted, and the project has not transitioned to any other government or civilian organization.
In addition to the statements above, Boulay added the following about the inventor of the Navy’s “UFO patents”:
The latest on Dr. Pais: you might remember that he left NAWCAD in June 2019 and moved to the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs organization. I found that he transferred to the U.S. Air Force this month.
This statement from NAWCAD also raises a few questions about why these experiments were funded and supported so extensively by high-ranking scientists within the organization in the first place. Despite every physicist we have spoken to over the better part of two years asserting that the “Pais Effect” has no scientific basis in reality and the patents related to it were filled with pseudo-scientific jargon, NAWCAD confirmed they were interested enough in the patents to spend more than a half-million dollars over three years developing experiments and equipment to test Pais’ theories.
Despite the fact that NAWCAD says the experiments ended in September 2019 without proving the “Pais Effect,” the inventor asserted to The War Zone in a November 18, 2019 email that his work “culminates in the enablement of the Pais Effect” and that “as far as the doubting SMEs [Subject Matter Experts] are concerned, my work shall be proven correct one fine day…”
So, as it sits now, the Navy has finally chimed in that its latest little adventure into weird science has ended, at least as far as the seagoing service is concerned. Yet the bizarre secrecy surrounding this entire endeavor that has occurred after the Navy filed the patents publicly remains remarkably odd. Not until we actually got the images, data, and slides about the program of record that attempted to prove Pais’ theories did they chime in to confirm its demise. We may never know why this was the case, although some will claim this was a misadventure in scientific research and fiscal misappropriation, to begin with.
This has been a wild ride, and we can’t say for sure if it’s come to an end just yet. But regardless, this is where it sits for the time being.
Below are the results of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documentation related to the Naval Innovative Science and Engineering – Basic & Applied Research Program under the project name “The High Energy Electromagnetic Field Generator (HEEMFG), broken into five parts here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. We have removed only Pais’s academic publications, to avoid copyright issues with their publishers, as well as Pais’s patent documents which can already be found online.
Experimental plane flies silently, may lead to quiet drones
By MALCOLM RITTER
NEW YORK (AP) — A nearly silent, drone-sized aircraft has shown it can fly, thanks to a scientist who was inspired by watching “Star Trek” as a child.
With neither propellers nor jets, the airplane gets its thrust by applying a strong electric field to the air. That general idea has been demonstrated at science fairs, but the new work shows it can power a free-flying airplane.
So can people look forward to traveling in planes that are almost silent and emit no air pollution?
“Not anytime soon,” says Steven Barrett of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who reported the results in a study released Wednesday by the journal Nature.
It’s not clear whether the technology could work at such a large scale, he said in a telephone interview. And even if it can, it would take a few decades to develop such planes, he said.
Before that, the approach might be used in airplane-like drones that perform tasks like environmental monitoring and surveillance, he said. As drones become more common in urban skies, the lack of noise would be an advantage in making them less bothersome to people on the ground, he said.
The Nature paper reports the results of 10 test flights inside an MIT athletic building. With a wingspan of about 16 feet (5 meters), the five-pound (2.45-kilogram) plane sailed along at about 11 mph (17 kph). Each flight covered about 60 yards (55 meters).
As an adult, he focused on that and came across a concept called “ionic wind.”
For the MIT airplane, that involves a series of thin wires at the front of the plane that generate a powerful electric field. The field strips electrons from air molecules, turning the molecules into positively charged particles called ions. Those ions flow toward negatively charged parts of plane, colliding with ordinary air molecules and transferring energy to them. That produces a wind that provides thrust for the plane, Barrett explained.
A similar process has long been used in outer space to propel some spacecraft, he said.
Barrett said he hopes to find a way to eliminate the “very slight buzz” one can hear.
“I think they’re onto something here,” said Pat Anderson, a professor of aerospace engineering at the Daytona Beach, Florida, campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He had no role in the research.
He called the results impressive. But the experimental aircraft lacks the range and endurance to serve as a useful drone, and it’s not clear whether the technology could be scaled up to fix that or become useful for propelling a passenger plane, he said.
Footage of mysterious object above ocean stuns military personnel – Could It Be An Aerosphere or an Ion-Ball craft?
Newly-released video of a mysterious object streaking over the Atlantic Ocean shows the Pentagon needs to take UFOs seriously, a researcher says.
The sensational two-minute clip captured by a camera aboard a US Navy F/A 18 jet flying at 25,000 feet wowed military personnel.
“What the f— is that thing?” shouted the pilot in the video posted online by the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science, a private research company.
“Oh my gosh dude!” exclaimed the jet’s weapons systems officer.
The video was shot off the East Coast in 2015. To the Stars Academy did not say how it obtained the declassified footage, but said others could obtain it through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Three videos showing similar incidents became public last year in reports of $22 million in Pentagon spending on UFO research.
The videos, along with observations by pilots and radar operators, “appear to provide evidence of the existence of aircraft far superior to anything possessed by the United States or its allies,” writes Christopher Mellon, a former defense official in the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations and an adviser to To the Stars Academy.
In a Washington Post op-ed, Mellon reasoned that if the origin of these aircraft is a mystery, “so is the paralysis of the US government in the face of such evidence.”
Mellon, who served as an intelligence official for the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, charged that military and department agencies “treat such incidents as isolated events rather than as part of a pattern requiring serious attention and investigation.”
Mellon compared the government’s current approach to UFOs to the counterterrorism efforts of the CIA and the FBI prior to 9/11.
He wondered if the US has been “technologically leap-frogged by Russia or China” or might these videos “be evidence of some alien civilization. Unfortunately, we have no idea, because we aren’t even seeking answers.”