Cook Inertial Propulsion?US Patent #4238968
July 2004- W. Kern Today

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July 2004- West Kern Today

Science sends Local Inventor to the Big Screen

By June Woods

Men rarely appreciate the genius of a man who rejects the popular thoughts and beliefs of his contemporaries.

Local inventor Robert Cook learned first hand what it is to buck popular opinion when he suggested that the established and accepted laws of motion are fallible.

The story of Cook’s work is told in two books that he co-authored– “The Death of Rocketry” and “The Man who Changed the [Future]” – and soon his invention will be featured in the science fiction movie based on the book “Safespace” []  by Robert Miles.

The Cook Inertial Propulsion (CIP) engine is a giant machine that Cook compares to a merry-go-round.  The prototype is set up on a long arm and in the middle of the arm is a very fine bearing so the arm can rotate.

“On one end of the arm,” he said, “you have the machine that weighs about 900 pounds and on the opposite end you have a counter balance of 900 pounds.”

In spite of its massive size, it takes just four ounces to get it going and two ounces to keep it going.

“The scientists told me this (putting it on the pendulum) was the ultimate test outside taking it into deep space,” he said. “They all predicted that it wouldn’t work, that on the pendulum all it would do is oscillate back and forth and not go anywhere.  But I put the thing together and it never worked better.”

The torsion pendulum proved the same thing that a test on a swing pendulum did.  The system will eventually produce a constant force and will be able to levitate but that will require a 12 to 16 rotor unit.

“What Boeing wanted this for, and still wants it for,” Cook said, “is to maneuver the space shuttle.”

He hopes the world will see the possibilities when they see a fictional prototype in action.

“This is the best way to introduce people to this new concept,” said Cook, who has spent years trying to persuade the science community to just look at his discovery.  Cook has convinced some, and he has been featured in Jane’s Defence Weekly, and Coast-to-Coast AM, a nationally syndicated all-night radio show hosted by Art Bell.

Safespace is about a starship captain whose mission is to destroy the civilization and culture of planet Earth, but whose desire is to initiate a plan called Safespace.  Cook will be away for about a year to build the replica of a ship that might be powered by the CIP engine for use in the movie.

Fittingly, Cook has long imagined the CIP would be something useful in deep space, and, he noted, it would take so little energy that it can easily be powered by a solar panel.  “You can reel out a huge solar battery,” Cook said, “and that way your spacecraft will be powered by the sun so that you don’t have to carry so much fuel.”

Trying to gain acceptance for his invention in the industry has been one of Cook’s most difficult tasks associated with the propulsion engine.  “It’s not just an invention; it’s a discovery,” he said concerning the CIP.

And though he did not set out to “topple” the laws ** of Sir Isaac Newton, many in the science community bristle at the supposed disrespect he has shown the 17th century scientist (1642-1727).  “You want to see a scientist get angry,” Cook said, “tell him that you’ve made Newton’s Laws invalid.”

“I’m a heretic as far as science goes.”

“Cook, whose biography will run at the end of Safespace, is a man of very humble beginnings.  Born in Presidio, a small town north of the Mexican-U.S. border, Spanish was his first language.  He learned English at the age of eight, during a time that he lived with his parents, brothers, sister and extended family in a small adobe house.

Cook’s experience in mechanics dates back to his boyhood.  “I came out of the hills of Texas,” he said.  I was a goat herder.”  It was in a stint working on cars that he learned the basics of mechanics, an experience he deems invaluable.  But there was much more he needed to learn.

“It took me four years to educate myself on nothing but [the terminology of] spin dynamics.”  He already knew the science, what he didn’t know was the scientifically acceptable way of describing his discovery to the science community.  Cook had a pile of books beside his bed for a lot of years in an effort to accomplish this according to his wife.

He was told in the early ‘90s:  you’ve had all this success, but I challenge you to do a torsion pendulum.

A philanthropist donated the money needed to build the prototype to demonstrate the CIP to Boeing engineers.

In 1998 he finished it and took it to Boeing, but it wasn’t shiny and polished like most prototypes that are submitted to large aerospace corporations.  Why did you bring that thing in here?” was their first reaction, said Cook.  “Sure enough, when I fired it up, jaws dropped,” he said.  “They scratched their heads. ‘How did you figure it out?’ they asked.”

Tests conducted on the prototype, which is in Taft, have shown that the less friction there is the better it works.

Before going up against the Boeing “dream team,” Cook faced academia at Cal Poly.  It was late in 1993, after Cook thought he had the proper education, he made an appointment to meet with the heads of the physics department at Cal Poly.

“After I finished my three-hour presentation,” Cook recalls, “Dr. Foster asked me: ‘Dr. Cook, sir, can I ask what your credentials are?’ I told him: ‘I don’t have any, all I have is a high school diploma.’ Dr. Pauling fell off the chair.”

Foster then asked him where he learned physics, and Cook replied that he was self-educated.

Awing scientists at Boeing and Cal Poly (not to mention Jet Propulsion Lab; General Electric, jet engine Division; Rocketdyne; Northrop Grumman Space Technology and United Airlines) has not resulted in production of the CIP.

“I got fed up with trying to get help here and went to Canada and Europe- I got a different reception there,” Cook said.

Cook isn’t facing these odds alone, however, his family backs him in his labor. “I’ve been working on this with him for a long time,” said his son Victor Cook. “I do his ‘dirty work (computer work).’”  Victor will also have a job when it comes time to make the movie.

His wife Scherl is also confident the machine will someday be produced.  “I’ve always told the kids that when this comes out, instead of driving, they’ll be flying or hovering above the ground,” she said.

Cook and his family will probably be moving soon because of the poor air quality in Kern.  But he will regret leaving the place he has come to know as home.  “I love the town and the people,” he said, “and we’ve made some really good friends here.”

For more information about Cook, or about the Cook Inertial Propulsion engine, visit

** The first law is (A.) an object at rest will remain at rest unless an unbalanced force causes it to do otherwise, and (B.) An object in motion will continue in motion in a straight line with constant speed unless an unbalanced force causes it to do otherwise.  Newton’s second law: The rate at which an object changes its velocity depends upon how much force is used and how much mass the object has.  Newton’s third law: For every action there is an equal reaction.


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