NASA’s much-hyped EM Drive – often described as a ‘Warp Drive’ – made shockwaves around the world, with a propulsion system which seems to defy the laws of physics.
But now China claims not only to have a rival device – but that it’s in space already, and working.
The engine works by bouncing microwaves around inside an enclosed container – and could revolutionise space travel, allowing spaceships to reach Mars in weeks.
The engine has no exhaust, and would outperform any current booster used in space – and NASA tests showed it was working earlier this year.
But a team from the China Academy of Space Technology has said that NASA’s results ‘re-confirm’ their own work – and plan to use the drive in satellites ‘as quickly as possible’.
The team claim that the thruster has already been tested in low Earth orbit on board China’s Tiangong-2 space station.
‘National research institutions in recent years have carried out a series of long-term, repeated tests on the EmDrive,’ said Dr Chen Yue, head of the communication satellite division at China Academy of Space Technology.
‘NASA’s published test results can be said to re-confirm the technology. We have successfully developed several specifications of multiple prototype principles.
‘The establishment of an experimental verification platform to complete the milli-level micro thrust measurement test, as well as several years of repeated experiments and investigations into corresponding interference factors, confirm that in this type of thruster, thrust exists.’