SOURCE: Aries Propulsion Research Labs

January 04, 2007 09:35 ET

Aries Propulsion Research Labs and Omni-Directional Propulsion (ODP)

CENTENNIAL, CO -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 4, 2007 -- Aries Propulsion Research Labs (APRLabs) recently introduced a new design in propulsion technology called omni-directional propulsion (ODP) that was licensed to APRLabs by propulsion designer Chris B. Hewatt in early 2006. The design was first published on the USPTO (United States Patent and Trade Organization) Web site as publication 20060230847. Since its publication in October of 2006, this unique design has been gaining attention in the fields of space propulsion and space exploration, and in the space tourism industries.


In the vacuum of space our current form of movement is to vent to our external environment and thereby produce thrust and forward movement. The problem with this type of propulsion is that it takes enormous fuel capacities just to reach orbit. In the Apollo missions to the moon, the rockets were fired for only a few minutes and then would exhaust the fuel supply. The vehicle would then coast all the way to the moon and back. This is because there is a limited amount of rocket fuel a vehicle can carry and once you exhaust that fuel supply there is only inertia to get you where you are going. The most unique property of omni-directional propulsion is that its thrust is completely internal and does not vent to its external environment to create movement. You could literally stand next to a vehicle using ODP and not be in danger of propeller blades or heat and there is no air disturbance produced by the device. Because ODP's thrust is contained within the device, a space vehicle could create thrust for years unlike our current rocket technology.


Between 1960 and today, there have been between 40 and 60 patents all using the name "Gyroscopic Propulsion." Most, if not all, of these patents have been incorrectly named since few actually use gyroscopic precession to create movement. Instead, most of these inventions try to alter the outside diameter of a spinning object thereby creating more centrifugal force on one side and less on the other. In theory this would create more force on one side of the spinning mass and less force on the other and create movement in the direction with more force. The force would be equal to the difference between the two sides. Though these patents are very creative and sometimes ingenious in design, they have never produced forward movement in performance tests. The physics simply does not stand behind the idea. The mere act of increasing and decreasing the outer diameter of a spinning mass perfectly counteracts the forward thrust that would be gained. If these prior patents had worked they would be breaking the known laws of physics. Omni-directional propulsion does not claim to break any known laws of physics to operate.

ODP uses the basic properties of a gyro to create thrust and forward movement. All spinning objects have some degree of gyroscopic properties. Anything that spins fast enough will resist movement along its axis. This is due to a property of any spinning object called "gyroscopic precession." Gyroscopic precession is what makes a spinning top stay upright until it slows down and falls to its side. The faster the object rotates around its axis the stronger this axial resistance becomes. The same principle applies to a bicycle wheel. The faster the wheel spins the harder the bicycle is to steer. A well-known example of this is when someone takes their hands off the handle bars and the bicycle keeps moving in the same direction. These unique properties allow gyros to create stability in space upon which other objects can push against and create movement. As an example, gyros are used in this way to keep the space shuttle stable and keep it from drifting off heading.


In order to best describe how ODP works we need to setup up an imaginary scenario. First imagine you are standing in an open area away from any obstructions. Face north and call that position 12 o'clock. As you begin to rotate in a clockwise direction you will pass through the 3 o'clock position, the 6 o'clock position, the 9 o'clock position, and eventually back to the 12 o'clock position where you started. Now imagine you have a ten foot long pole and you are holding that pole at one end (we'll call this the "close end"). While standing in one place you rotate around as before in the same clockwise direction. As you rotate around, the other end of the pole (we'll call this the "far end") will pass through the 3 o'clock position, the 6 o'clock position, and so on. In order to make this scenario work the pole needs to have a "magic" property about it where it can lock and unlock its pointing direction at any position of its rotation. To clarify, this does not mean the pole stops moving when it locks. This means if the "far end" of the pole is pointing at the 9 o'clock position when the "magic" locking takes place the pole will stay pointing in the 9 o'clock position, however, because the pole has forward momentum at the time it's locked, both ends ("close end" and "far end") of the pole move with each other in the same direction using the forward momentum of the "far end" until it is unlocked from the 9 o'clock position. As an example, if the "far end" of the pole is passing the 3 o'clock position and it's moving at 5 feet per second and the "magic" locking is activated for 1 second, both the "close end" and the "far end" will move 5 feet in the same direction. When the pole's ability to change direction is "magically" unlocked, the pole will continue to freely rotate around you as it did before. To change the direction of movement you simply change the locking and unlocking position during the rotation and you immediately begin moving 90 degrees from the locking position. Any position of the rotation can be chosen as a locking position and therefore any direction can be obtained instantly hence the name "omni-directional" propulsion. If you want to move in the 12 o'clock direction you simply apply the locking mechanism at the 9 o'clock position and unlock it at the 10 o'clock position and repeat this at the same point of each rotation.

To make our imaginary scenario reality, all we need to do is make the pole "magically" lock and unlock without using magic. That's easier than it may seem. Simply attach a gyro at the "far end" of the pole where the gyro's axis is parallel to the pole and create a locking-break system where at any point in the rotation you can lock the gyro's housing and axis to the pole and the "magic" is gone. The gyro's axis will force both ends of the pole to move in the same direction using the mass and the forward movement of the pole. Remember, a gyro can create a resisting force without needing to stabilize itself to another object. This method uses that unique property of a gyro to push off and propel itself through any media including air, water, and even space without disturbing its external environment.

Now let's remove the imaginary person from the scenario, make the pole and gyro weigh hundreds of pounds, and create a machine that rotates thousands of rotations per minute (RPM) and you have a method of high thrust propulsion different from any we have seen or used before. To clarify a few points, the spinning axis of the gyro stays at a consistent RPM at all times and does not vary. The RPM of the pole (and the connected gyro at its end) can increase or decrease its RPM at any point and by doing so can increase and decrease thrust. Changing the gyro's locking position in the 360 degree rotation allows an immediate change in direction.


Boats could travel through the water without the need of a propeller. Propellers interacting with air and water expend enormous amounts of energy due to drag and friction. A propulsion system that eliminates these forms of drag would greatly increase fuel efficiency.

Aircraft would have no use for propellers and rotors to move through the air.

Submarines could move through the water with no propellers and no propeller noise and be virtually silent.

Space craft and launch vehicles could achieve orbit using 1 percent of the fuel needed to achieve orbit with today's current rocket technology and once in space could continue to increase velocity for years.