BE Design Basics

Global Beamed Energy Options
Beaming energy around the globe
for a range of Applications


Originally posted c2002 and virtually unchanged, this article gives an insight into the development process of recovering the technology of flight on remotely beamed energy.

Back to Basics once more

The Repulsine 'A' and 'B' and the Astro machines all rely in part on the Coanda effect and there is good reason to suppose that heat from an Airspike could also be better controlled with a Coanda effect vehicle augmented by steam and/or water. It would therefore seem reasonable to suppose that all of these advanced lift techniques could be developed around a circular Astro-style test vehicle designed to maximise this specific effect based (at least partly) on air drawn from beneath the dome. From there, it should be possible to explore exactly how the Repulsine and/or Airspike effects can best be utilised from tests on the same basic airframe.

The proposed test vehicle would be based on an Astro Kinetics, Aerodina-style machine with modifications added to explore and test the additional methods of lift production. If the historical record is any guide they are effects that might double or quadruple the total lift capacity without seriously compromising the aerodynamics of the basic craft in any way at all. The most obvious first stage would seem to be to investigate the Airspike effect. To top

Airspike augmentation

The Airspike effect, as demonstrated by Leik Myrabo, could possibly be generated most adaptably by mounting between 3 and 6 laser (or maser) beam guns above the dome of the basic airframe to ionise the air above the craft. Initially set to focus about a craft diameter above the dome, as the aircraft accelerated vertically, the focus would be lengthened to maintain the desired tuned effect. It is suggested that the beam guns would (possibly) be mounted on a second (enlarged diameter) concentrator ring at around 1/2 the radius of the craft. The concentrator is intended to better contain and direct the air being ionised above the craft to best effect.

As there is no physical structure involved in generating an Airspike, the equipment would potentially add minimal weight or effect (detrimental or otherwise) on the lift as provided by the basic craft. It is anticipated the beam guns will produce an airspike that would greatly increase the area and the intensity of the low pressure area already being created above the craft by the Coanda Effect and that this can be usefully incorporated into the total lift effect. This however, has to be tested. To top

In the Astro design, air is drawn in part from beneath the dome so air would still be available for blowing outwards to create the Coanda effect. The supply for the fan would not be affected by the lowered pressure created by the airspike. The heated air exploding tangentially down towards the top of the craft would be absorbed by a mist of water sprayed into the area of the concentrator ring. Flashing to steam it would augment the flow of air being blown outwards by the fan. It remains to be tested but I think it reasonable to assume it would greatly augment the lift effect across the top of the craft.

If air is ionised to create the airspike, the excess heat must in any case be absorbed by some form of cooling system. It seems rational to (at least attempt to) absorb that heat in a flow that adds to the total effect. In what is still more art than science, I suggest that initially, computer reconstructions may not fully accommodate all the effects in play. The results will therefore need to be tested. To top

Gaining Maximum Efficiency

Viktor Schauberger undoubtedly had extraordinary insight into the means of extracting energy from water and the water/air exchange mechanism in general. However, his explanation of the basic mechanisms involved is anything but clear and includes many assumptions and reasoning that is simply not valid in any scientifically acceptable manner. He was also noted as being extremely impatient of the general scientific establishment.

For whatever reason, those who have tried to reproduce his effects have so far failed. I suspect this is because they have tried to draw their understanding of the reactions from what (to them) appears as a logical analysis of what they see in drawings that are anything but clear as to detail and may even be deliberately misleading, given the historical circumstances of the time.

However, if we go back to basics, there is little doubt that the effects relate to the transfer or exchange of heat within a managed cyclic heat exchange system, initially spun but then being powered solely from heat absorbed from water. Also common to all descriptions and drawings are the waveform plates with their strange concentric rings that are undoubtedly at the heart of the system. Fed with (cold) water, they hold the basic secret to the working of these machines but exactly how they did so remains something of a mystery so, with them in mind, perhaps it is better to go back to the basics of understanding the energy cycle of a hurricane and how best to capture it. To top

Temperatures and Pressures

The temperature at which water boils is highly dependent on the ambient pressure. A multi-stage steam turbine engine starts at a very high pressure and absorbs the latent energy of condensation and vaporisation in a repeated cycle by containing and controlling the reducing pressure and temperature. As the pressure drops progressively through smaller and smaller turbine wheels, the vapour is repeatedly condensed and then reboiled at a lower pressure until it has eventually cooled to near atmospheric temperature.

Energy is drawn off through both sides of this repeating cycle, in the sudden initial explosive expansion that we can see at a kettles spout and in the contraction that follows as the vapour cools below its dew point for that particular pressure and collapses back into its condensed, water state. It is the principle also of the double-acting (reciprocating) steam engine which happens to be a closer analogy of the situation faced within our proposed aircraft and in the somewhat mysterious Repulsine engines. To top

Steam expanding into an area of relatively low pressure can boil at a much lower temperature and will expand by a factor of up to 1700, depending on specific circumstances. If the steam vapour then enters a region of raised pressure, the vapour will instantly condense and  revert to its original volume. By suitable engineering, energy can be captured on both sides of this cycle.  To top

Cooling and energy augmentation

Water would be the most obvious coolant, inevitably required when using ionisation to power these craft. Injected from jets in the base of the central deflector hub of the lift impeller, water would be expelled at high pressure into the duct fan's airstream. It is anticipated the heat of the ionised plasma would be absorbed by the water, maintaining it at above the boiling point as it expanded out across the dome, augmenting the lift effect as was demonstrated in Coanda's model aircraft, the Aerodina Lenticulara. To top

The Mysterious Repulsin "B"
Reportedly flew after being spun up to high speed using water from a garden hose 

High pressure jets of steam will naturally expand significantly more than a simple jet of fan-forced air as it crosses the surface of the dome. The steam could therefore be expected to entrain more air (and total volume) than would normally be moved simply by the fan impeller acting on unheated air. However, the issue does raise a further unknown - just how much water is needed to sustain the effects and what will occur as the vapour cools again and condenses. To top

Either way, the Astro Kinetics craft has already proved the Coanda effect as a viable lift mechanism that could be used to sustain flight in a relatively efficient manner.

The basic intention is to use the effect in combination with a beam of energy to boost a craft to altitude at high acceleration, in which case, only a relatively small volume of water would be required per boost.

A vertical boost at 2g's for just 20 seconds would seem entirely achievable and would see the aircraft at 3,500m with a potential glide range of over 100km. A longer boost (or higher acceleration) could easily double or quadruple this range. In addition, a relatively small power system could augment a high speed glide to a more distant destination. To top

High Flying Potential

From altitude, any suitably designed aircraft can glide a very significant distance using little or no power. Craft like these, ultimately shaped much like a frisbee, could potentially have a relatively high glide ratio, almost certainly in excess of 30:1. This will not apply to the test vehicle (with all the gear hanging out below) but, at worst, the large dome with the vent in the top should see it perform much like a parachute in the event of a power-out descent.

The best operational perfomance of aircraft powered by beamed energy will be obtained if they lift vertically and then glide to the next booster station in a repeated saw-tooth flight profile. The potential range of each boost will be determined by the height the craft achieves combined with its glide ratio. An unpressurise craft must work within the breathable atmosphere and might therefore have a range on each booost limited to around 150km. A pressurised craft would have a potential range of 500km-600km and vehicle equipped for space would have virtually no limit to its speed or its range. Efficient hypersonic flight is a very real possibility for a craft using the Airspike Effect as already proven by Myrabo in hypersonic wind tunnel tests. To top

The potential for beamed energy is almost limitless and with energy and pollution finally being recognised as a major factor in our continued survival, solar power (with beamed energy?) must soon be accepted as the only truly clean solution. This basic fact was acknowledge by Nikola Tesla over a century ago and little has really changed. When the reality is accepted the significance and potential of BE propulsion will finally become apparent.

It seems entirely possible that within 10 or 20 years, every corner of our planet will be within an hour's journey and space will no longer be the barrier it is today. Even the Moon and Mars will come within reasonable range to be considered as viable outposts for human expansion. All of it will become possible when we develop the technology to power our air and spacecraft on beams of energy as detailed in the blueprint of the past at sites like Giza and Teotihuacan. To top

Design Considerations

Vaporisation and condensation of water are phase change reations that release or absorb vast quantites of energy. The dew point and flash point of water are highly dependent on air pressure and humidity but in suitable conditions the latent energy of both reactions might possibly be captured in both directions. The concept behind this new (augmented) lift effect is to use an energy beam to effect the phase change reactions of water. Although it may also be possible to use the  ionisation of air as already demonstrated in the Lightcraft, I believe the use of lasers would be reserved for extreme range applications, mainly in space or a near-space environment.

Within the lower atmosphere, (the troposphere, I believe microwaves would be the energy beam of choice, possibly assisted by direct solar. Higher up, in the stratosphere, beyond the range of direct solar, the use of microwaves would predominate. Lasers from space remain an option for helping craft into low orbit.

A craft going directly to GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbit could possibly go there as a result of direct lift vertical lift on microwave energy supplied from a single ground station anywhere within the tropic or subtrotical region. A craft using the GEO either as its primary destination or as a staging post to outer space would not necessarily have any need to establish an intermediate, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) as occurs now. The craft would ride the launch  beam all the way to the altitude of the GEO, at 42,164km (26,199 mi), gaining the necessary lateral speed (~5,500kmh, 3,400mph) by slightly angling is ascent path to stay positioned over the launch beam. To top

Any analysis of energy requirements and usage reveals that any combination of solar, microwaves and lasers could be used. The only requirement is that the specific quantity and energy-density at the craft should fall within the craft's design parameters and that will depend on where the craft is operating and whether air and vapour from the atmosphere are in the equation.

In the lower atmosphere, vortex and vapour effects will predominate, as discussed later. Higher up, ionising effects could take over, powered by any combination of available beamed energy, supplied either from the ground and/or from space.

Ultimately, in a big enough craft, it may be possible to use ionising effects created both above and below the aircraft. The effect below is relatively obvious, the effect above, dubbed the Airspike, is an effect demonstrated very successfully in a hypersonic wind tunnel but never yet used in a live vehicle. The airspike promises to provide very significant lift if timed correctly and produced above the circular dome of a suitable Coanda Effect aircraft.  To top

The use of water vapour and the operational use of its phase-change reations has yet to be physically demonstrated in a machine but  it is the basic force within Nature that drives all the major events of our weather and undoubtedly has almost unlimited potential in powering aircraft. Even higher in the atmosphere, the use of injected water could be a significant contributor for providing lift to a craft going into space. Water has almost the highest known co-efficient of expansion and of course is freely available within the atmosphere and is totally non-polluting.

If the energy of expansion and condensation can both be captured by suitable timing, it would potentially double the propulsive effect obtained from the simple expansion of water into steam. The double effect of expansion and contraction is commonly engineered to occur on either side of the piston within the cylinder of a reciprocating double-action steam engine.

Suitable timing and suitable control of heat and humidity would make the aircraft act much like the piston behaves in a vertically-acting steam piston engine but with a constant movement in one direction. The decrease in pressure above the craft and the increase in pressure below would both continue as long as required, until the ionisation was stopped or the water or air ran out. To top

And Practical Solutions

The basic Astro craft has already physically demonstrated it has the potential to lift a mass greater than its own weight. It is also evident that this machine would be ideally shaped to collect and utilise beamed energy and that the energy so received could also (quite possibly) be used more effiiciently through a steam generator as proposed for the original Coanda Effect machine, the Aerodina Lenticulara. The original Lightcraft required cooling and that cooling too could be supplied by water but it is unlikely it could be used as effectively as in the airspike effect as just described.


The New Aerodina concept

 A schematic of the 1964 un-identified   Astro-Kinetics craft using the Coanda Effect simply with air 

It would seem that water is not only the most obvious coolant, it has the added advantage that (as in a thunder storm) the explosive vapourising of the water would provide a highly energetic reaction that absorbs heat entirely automatically and naturally. The reactions of water droplets would provide perhaps 90% of the total thrust in an effect that is entirely non-polluting. To top

The tests concucted by Leik Myrabo (developer of the Lightcraft) have not quantified the amount of thrust available from the Airspike but the fact he proposes that microwaves would be beamed to a commercial-sized (20m diameter) craft from LEO to lift it high into the atmosphere suggests uneqivocally that he (an undoubted expert) considers the airspike should be at least strong enough to lift the craft from the ground to potentially hypersonic speeds.

The reactions seen in lightning suggest that thrust levels could be maintained relatively easily by controlling the water used for cooling. The effective conversion of heat into thrust would happen more or less automatically and would massively reduce the total energy required from megawatts to 10's of kilowatts. The downside is the need to carry water as a fuel and reactant, but it still promises significant advantages and savings over conventional aircraft, not the least of which are its sustainable, clean credentials. To top

The major difference between the Lightcraft and the New Aerodina is that the latter no longer requires high-power energy beams to be transmitted through the atmosphere. The lower total energy required and the use of intense beams only within the craft make the whole arrangement much safer and more efficient. High power beams are now only required at (and/or from) the craft to trigger ionisation in a fully controlled manner. By using three (or more) focused energy beams only at very close range, safety is ensured.

The Lightcraft experiments have indicated that very significant additional lift could be provided by utilising energy directed at high E/D beneath the craft, but if the Airspike can be developed in the manner suggested, it would seem a more viable option. The Lightcraft system could still be developed as an entirely separate and additional lift system to the airspike, but I doubt it will be of any great advantage except possibly in unmanned craft, able to take advantage of extreme rates of acceleration.

This design exercise, logically suggests a craft identical to those in popular magazine images of  flying saucers, as photographed and recorded in numerous UFO sightings. Is it possible that some of those reports might be based on at least an element of truth? To top

A Dangerous Precedent

Leik Myrabo, developer of the Lightcraft, has proposed (among others) that energy beamed from low earth orbit (LEO) could be focused for use directly at the craft. Though not doubting the technical possibility (or otherwise) of this suggestion, even the consideration of this possibility is liable (quite rightly, I believe) to raise the most serious questions about the safety of people on the ground, as a beam of such power would most certainly be considered a military threat of the most alarming proportions

Even the suggestion of such a proposal could be enough to cause panic and fear. With the possibility (no matter how remote) that hackers might be able to take control of such a potential weapon, (in James Bond-type scenario) the reaction seems one that is entirely justified. To me it is alarming that quite justifiable fears could possibly destroy all attempts to develop a technology that has such enormous potential for good, if only it had been approached in a slightly different way. To top

...and a Better Solution

A satellite in LEO would be in earth's shadow for 50% of its orbit and would require massive systems for energy storage and maneuvring. The same satellite positioned in a GEO would be able to collect power 24/7 for all but about 60 hours in the year (at midnight during the equinoxes). The LEO proposal is not one that has any obvious benefits, except for the military and then only very short term.

Space solar power satellites (SSPSs) in a GEO only need maneuvring sytems to correct for minor drift from true alignment and have no need at all for massive onboard energy storage capacity. They would need much larger collectors to receive the energy at the ground but apart from the cost of the launch that's the only disadvantage. If launch costs to GEO become cheaper than to LEO, which could happen with direct launches on beamed energy, then possibly that will knock those arguments on the head.

To receive power from the GEO, the size of the ground collector would vary, depending on the resolution of the energy supply. Sources at NASA suggest that ~50% of a maser beam from GEO would be contained within a 1km radius, 80% within a 2km radius and by 3km energy levels would be down to near nothing. To top

The GEO is ~70x the height of a LEO, so (by the inverse square rule) the E/D at the ground would be reduced to far less than 1% of the previous (LEO) proposal, clearly far too low to pose a serious military threat.


Sunlight or Masers
Beamed Maser Energy from GEO at 10x solar for re-reflection; a far safer option than hitting a small target from LEO at 1000x solar 

Despite the E/D being far lower overall, the ground footprint at the center would still be far higher than around the perimeter, possibly a maximum of around 10kW/m2, (~1%-2% of that from a satellite in LEO). Concentrated by mirrors, this is still high enough to usefully redirect energy into the base of a launch vehicle, or to be used as an effective (but entirely defensive) weapon.

At 10kW/m2 a collector 100m in radius would receive over 300Mw. Simply using mirrors the energy could be directed to a launch platform to power the (suggested) 6m craft at near maximum acceleration and it precisely explains the design of the early, stepped pyramids. Alternatively, the microwaves could be collected remotely and directed through massive, insulated wave guides to numerous launch platforms, controlled by sluices as seen at Teotihuacan. To top

Installing BEP

The greater the range (ie from LEO to GEO), the wider the beam and the lower the E/D at the ground. This remoteness makes for far greater safety but necessitates the use of large collectors and the need for additional structure for bringing that energy to a useful focus.

The most obvious way to avoid the complications of high-intensity beams aimed at the ground, is to collect and/or reflect the energy, still at a low E/D. It totally avoids the enormous danger posed by targeting the ground from space with a high-intensity energy beam. Not only could the beam cause the air to explode prematurely, unless due care is taken, it could also cook any life form, including people. I suggest high-powered energy beams pointing at the ground, whether lasers or masers, from LEO, are an entirely unnecessary risk, for both practical reasons and the military risks involved.

Three factors, the energy-density, the size of the collector and the means of delivering that energy to the thrust chamber become potentially the most significant factors of craft design. Factors, like minimum and maximum acceleration and the limitations of human endurance can also have some significant bearing in ways that are not always immediately obvious. To top

Above and Beyond

At the present time, the most obvious option for powering a craft with beamed energy is from a power supply on the ground but that will obviously change once beamed energy is available from space. The introduction of SSPS's will have major implications for the operation and design of both air- and spacecraft. (See next section 'Spaceship Design') .

It would seem obvious to proceed with Lasers for the development of small (micro-satellite) BEP systems, but for larger systems, basic microwaves and/or masers, are almost certainly the best option. They easily have sufficient range for most applications (except deep space) but are potentially far more efficient, far safer, far cheaper and far easier to produce. Not only could a maser supply energy to (or from) the GEO but they can be controlled electronically and have numerous excellent properties as an energy source. Without fear of premature ionisation. they are able to cover all applications within Earth's orbit at maximum E/D and at high efficiency. Also, being highly compatible with conventional power transmission systems means excess power can be readily diverted to other applications. To top

The reality, that energy received from space could be reflected by simple metal mirrors is the very basis of BEP technology and the ancient development of pyramids. By simple reflection, the core beam can be reflected and used as the primary source of energy for a highly efficient launch system. All that is required is either a tall launch platform to hold the launch vehicle at the beam's focal point or an insulated system of ducts to deliver the energy as and where needed.

This is at the very heart of the pyramid mystery and is absolutely basic to this technology but, as far as I am aware, these possibilities have hardly been addressed in any public forum. To top

Speed, Range and Distance

Comparisons between stepped pyramids and true pyramids strongly suggest that the older (mastaba-style) stepped pyramids were supplied by masers from space, almost certainly from a GEO angled to the the plane of the sun. The dimensions of key pyramids (like Djoser's pyramid at Saqqara) strongly suggest the energy was received at the ground, probably at around 4x the E/D of sunlight but certainly no higher than 10x.

These power levels readily account for the observation that a great many stepped pyramids were repeatedly enlarge but only to half the dimensions of otherwise comparable true, solar pyramids. If increasing the height of a pyramid gave greater power and range, the strange and apparently illogical behavior of the builders (in repeatedly enlarging them) is fully explained, as are the size discrepancies between the different basic types. To top

As reported by the Advanced Propulsion Concepts (APC) program at NASA's JPL laboratories, within the atmosphere, a craft supplied from both above and below could use energy from both sources to produce lift, using the simplest of reflective optics. Research at JPL has already confirmed that combining beams from above and below would almost certainly have a multiplier effect, greatly improving total efficiency. This would almost certainly apply if the Airspike focus could be suitably tuned to match the craft's speed as it accelerated. 'Flying on Beamed Energy' examines some of the more obvious features made necessary by adopting BEP concepts.
(* From the web site of senior researcher Robert H. Frisbee, in charge of NASA's Advanced Propulsion Concepts (APC) program at JP L.. ( Sadly, this excellent source of information has since been taken off line ).

If an airspike does indeed eliminate or significantly reduce drag, as suggested by initial tests, small commercial aircraft will be able to provide a highly personalised, hypersonic global transport service between all major centers. The technology would seem to have almost unlimited potential.

Although powered horizontal flight is certainly possible, BEP can achieve its greatest advantage if craft accelerate vertically at maximum power through the atmosphere. This applies especially strongly with craft able to use air as a reaction medium. From the top-of-atmosphere, a craft can then glide to another booster station or to its destination. To top

Sunlight reflected from heliostats
The flight profile within the atmosphere, proceeding in a saw-tooth series of boost and glide hops

With a maximum range at potentially around 600km, an extended flight within the atmosphere could proceed as a series of these boosts to altitude, followed by an extended glide. However, once the craft goes outside the cone of energy, it can no longer receive power effectively and must then go into a free-flight glide or gain energy from another source.

With additional height (into space) and only a minimal, lateral (horizontal) boost this range could theoretically be extended into a sub--orbital, ballistic trajectory, to travel half-way around the world, although this would almost certainly require a second source of power, suitably placed in the opposite direction. To top

NASA's projections suggest that a BEP craft could (theoretically) accelerate at up to 20g's (20x the force of gravity). This is at least 3x the force that even trained astronauts or fighter pilots can maintain.

Since by far the most efficient mode of operation is achieved by maintaining maximum acceleration through the atmosphere, it suggests two further considerations.

    1. That unmanned, automated flights at high acceleration would be particularly energy-efficient and a very real option for commercial cargo and
    2. That a craft with a high glide ratio would also have very significant advantages. Since a frisbee is about the most efficient flying object, adopting the fast-spinning rim would seem strongly indicated for miniature craft. To top

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