Multiple sources have reported that a paper about EmDrive has cleared peer review and will be published in December, although there is no certainty yet about whether NASA scientists have found evidence to support thrust apparently in violation of the law of conservation of momentum (and not within experimental error):
Long thought to be nothing more than a space dream, the EmDrive, a rocket propulsion technology that requires no propellant, has cleared peer review, the International Business Times reports. The new engine, first proposed 17 years ago, relies on microwaves for its thrust, which are fired into a metal cone, causing acceleration. The latest design, which will be published in the Journal of Propulsion, was the brainchild of scientists at NASA's experimental lab, Eagleworks Laboratories.
Also at Inverse.
Meanwhile, a company formed by Cannae Inc. has announced that it will launch a similar propulsion device into space to prove that it works:
On August 17, Cannae announced plans to launch its thruster on a 6U cubesat. Each unit is a 10-centimeter cube, so a 6U satellite is the size of a small shoebox. Approximately one quarter of this will be taken up by the drive. Fetta intends the satellite to stay on station for at least six months, rather than the six weeks that would be typical for a satellite this size at a altitude of 150 miles. The longer it stays in orbit, the more the satellite will show that it must be producing thrust without propellant.
Cannae has formed a company called Theseus with industrial partners LAI International of Tempe, AZ and SpaceQuest Ltd. of Fairfax, VA to launch the satellite. No launch date has yet been announced, but 2017 seems likely. "Once demonstrated on orbit, Theseus will offer our thruster platforms to the satellite marketplace," says the optimistic conclusion on their website.
After months of speculation and leaked documents, NASA's long-awaited EM Drive paper has finally been peer-reviewed and published [open, DOI: 10.2514/1.B36120] [DX]. And it shows that the 'impossible' propulsion system really does appear to work. The NASA Eagleworks Laboratory team even put forward a hypothesis for how the EM Drive could produce thrust – something that seems impossible according to our current understanding of the laws of physics.
In case you've missed the hype, the EM Drive, or Electromagnetic Drive, is a propulsion system first proposed by British inventor Roger Shawyer back in 1999. Instead of using heavy, inefficient rocket fuel, it bounces microwaves back and forth inside a cone-shaped metal cavity to generate thrust. According to Shawyer's calculations, the EM Drive could be so efficient that it could power us to Mars in just 70 days.
takyon: Some have previously dismissed EmDrive as a photon rocket. This is addressed in the paper along with other possible sources of error:
The eighth [error:] photon rocket force, RF leakage from test article generating a net force due to photon emission. The performance of a photon rocket is several orders of magnitude lower than the observed thrust. Further, as noted in the above discussion on RF interaction, all leaking fields are managed closely to result in a high quality RF resonance system. This is not a viable source of the observed thrust.
[...] The 1.2 mN/kW performance parameter is over two orders of magnitude higher than other forms of "zero-propellant" propulsion, such as light sails, laser propulsion, and photon rockets having thrust-to-power levels in the 3.33–6.67 μN/kW (or 0.0033–0.0067 mN/kW) range.
Previously: NASA Validates "Impossible" Space Drive's Thrust
"Reactionless" Thruster Tested Again, This Time in a Vacuum
Explanation may be on the way for the "Impossible" EmDrive
Finnish Physicist Says EmDrive Device Does Have an Exhaust
EmDrive Peer-Reviewed Paper Coming in December; Theseus Planning a Cannae Thruster Cubesat
[Researchers] in China have announced that they've already been testing the controversial drive in low-Earth orbit, and they're looking into using the EM Drive to power their satellites as soon as possible.
Big disclaimer here - all we have to go on right now is a press conference announcement [archive.is] and an article from a government-sponsored Chinese newspaper (and the country doesn't have the best track record when it comes to trustworthy research).
[...] But what the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) team is saying also corresponds with information provided to IB Times from an anonymous source. According to their informant, China already has an EM Drive on board its version of the International Space Station, the space laboratory Tiangong-2.