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Since 2001 there has been chatter about reactionless “quantum drives” such as the EmDrive developed by Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd. These drives supposedly produce thrust without consuming propellant or interaction with external fields. If they work, this would be a violation of Newton’s 3rd Law. And, if they work, they would revolutionize space travel.

The inner working of these drives is often proprietary but usually involve microwaves beamed into a copper vessel. Proponents claim to have measured small amounts of thrust but critics explain this as experimental error.

enter image description here Controversial Quantum Space Drive In Orbital Test, Others To Follow

After decades of controversy, a “quantum drive” has been launched into orbit where it can (possibly) prove it has the Right Stuff. Or maybe just ignite more controversy. According to Rogue Space Systems Corp, their BARRY-1 satellite launched by SpaceX Nov 11 2023, includes a Quantum Drive.

The quantum drive will boost the BARRY-1 satellite into a new orbit — or maybe it will do nothing, as skeptics maintain propellentless drives cannot work. For the first month or so of operation it will do nothing but settle down so its exact orbit can be tracked … After that the drive will be activated and the test will begin with the goal of raising the orbit by 60 miles.

The propellentless drive was developed by IVO Limited, who are not commenting on the project until they get results. But their website describes it as the “first pure electric propulsion technology tested and validated to Low Earth Orbit environments.”

Two months have gone by. Any news on the Quantum Drive’s performance?

EDIT for all those of you who have been holding your breath, as of Feb 14 the mission has ended without a test.

From https://rogue.space/suspension_of_barry1_operations

“Rogue Space Systems operations team is announcing the suspension of the active phase of our first on orbit mission”

“ never had the opportunity to test the IVO drive… we are in discussions on a second attempt during... the upcoming Rogue hosting missions launching in 2025.”

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    $\begingroup$ I think it's really cool that building a satellite is now affordable enough that someone can just go ahead and test such a thoroughly debunked, but still interesting idea $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Jan 19 at 8:41
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    $\begingroup$ According to nsf forums the test was delayed to January, and there has not been an update on when it would start running at all. $\endgroup$ Jan 19 at 8:52
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    $\begingroup$ Most of what is known about startup company Rogue Space Systems is from their press releases which overflow with lots of talk of ambitious plans. And from their (not fully functioning) website which teases exciting things like "relocation, debris removal & mission extension, on-orbit service & repair, inspection, observation & diagnosis, and even "payload hosting services". However their only actual accomplishment so far that I am aware of is their recent launch of a cubesat (built by someone else) for testing "software algorithms", and carrying another startup's perpetual motion machine . $\endgroup$ Jan 21 at 7:19
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    $\begingroup$ Actually there are two other Rogue Space accomplishments that I know of - one is they somehow managed to convince the Air Force to give them a few million dollars for research. And secondly they seem to have hijacked the formerly popular Stuff in Space 3D satellite tracking website, which is no longer popular since it's no longer being updated with correct data, as explained by @Tristan in the comments for this question. $\endgroup$ Jan 21 at 7:30
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    $\begingroup$ Consider posting that new info as an answer rather than putting it in the question. $\endgroup$ Feb 16 at 23:26

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It is slowly sinking into the atmosphere.

The NORAD ID is 58338 per the IVO site. SatNogs gets their data from space-track.org, where I signed up for an account and then got all the TLEs so far in JSON format.

From the first to the last TLE, the apogee altitude has reduced steadily from 526.527km to 520.877km.

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They say they've not started testing yet (as of 16th January): https://twitter.com/RaMansell/status/1747321369732567117

LEOP of Barry-1 is going very slowly, but it is progressing. I appreciate @RogueSpaceCorp 's work toward preparations for the Quantum Drive's first test. No exact date yet.

Scott Manley posted a graph showing no signs of thrust https://x.com/DJSnM/status/1745490364285509723?s=20:

Scott Manley posted a graph showing no signs of thrust https://x.com/DJSnM/status/1745490364285509723?s=20

As of the 9th February the satellite seems to be dead https://twitter.com/RogueSpaceCorp/status/1755956670738337824

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For all those of you who have been holding your breath, as of Feb 14 the mission has ended without a test.

From https://rogue.space/suspension_of_barry1_operations

“Rogue Space Systems operations team is announcing the suspension of the active phase of our first on orbit mission”

“ ... never had the opportunity to test the IVO drive… we are in discussions on a second attempt during... the upcoming Rogue hosting missions launching in 2025.”

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    $\begingroup$ Color me...not surprised. $\endgroup$ Feb 17 at 0:47

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