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The Dean System Drive is a self-contained propulsion system not requiring the loss of mass.

Arcturas Project

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The FIRST Stellar Spatial Inertial Gyroscope-

The Dynamically Tuned Rotor Gyroscope

Who was this man who changed the very landscape of Modern Navigation?

The man behind the scene?

In 1948, according to navigation industry experts, Dr. Charles S. Draper of MIT’s Instrumentation Lab, made an astounding breakthrough- a breakthrough that would revolutionize the high stakes game of Intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine navigation, and space travel. A breakthrough that could not be explained in light of his previous works.

How had Dr. Draper, made a leap of TEN YEARS into the future? Who was the man that made it possible for Charles Stark Draper to become known as “The Father of inertial navigation”?

That man was Norman L. Dean

Circa 1968

Circa 1968

The Stellar Spatial Inertial Gyroscopic System, known as Arcturas , (The brightest star in the northern sky) Dean had invented the first significant and original gyroscopic mechanism and the integrated systems to make the non-precessing PLANETARY gyroscope the heart of the modern Inertial Navigation System.

Norman L. Dean, created the worlds first non-precessing Gyroscope and system. It’s contemporary name is the “Dynamically Tuned Rotor Gyroscope” this single device, invented in 1946 was finally evolved into inertial navigation. Dean evolved the theory, invented and developed the technology, and introduced the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) to the technology that was later refined by Dr. Charles Stark Draper of MIT. It brought inertial navigation to operational use in aircraft, space vehicles, and submarines.


What is Inertial Navigation?

atom“Before inertial guidance systems, navigators depended on more laborious methods; such as celestial navigation and radio navigation. “Inertial guidance systems use gyroscopes (rotating devices that react to changes in direction) and accelerometers (instruments that detect changes in velocity over time) to keep a steady course. The information obtained from the gyroscopes and the accelerometers is fed into a computer, which calculates the degree of drift from the intended course and recommends appropriate corrections. Completely automatic inertial navigational systems can sense tiny deviations from the intended course and quickly correct them, resulting in very precise navigation anywhere in the world.” – (Courtesy of Draper Labs)

Who was Norman L. Dean?

Norman L Dean

Norman L Dean

Born September 12, 1902, Dean received his early education in a one-room prairie schoolhouse on the plains of Saskatchewan, Canada. Dean was a product of a wholesome educational environment, based upon sound English textbooks, as the English have always been recognized for their thoroughness in the basics. His young interest was improved upon by his Mother, a former school teacher, and, one of his prairie neighbors, Professor Hoffman, a wealthy German immigrant, who had been educated at the University of Heidelberg. Prof. Hoffman regularly tutored Dean in physics and the sciences.

Dean was not a professional physicist, but it was his great interest and passion. Dean was supported by his career in finance. He was highly regarded as an expert in mortgages. Through the years, Dean became an expert in finance and especially real estate; he later became a high-ranking US Government employee, serving in the Federal Housing Administration as the Deputy Chief Appraiser for the United States.

The birth of the Planetary Gyroscopic System.

Chief of Brittan's Rocket Research WWII

Chief of Brittan's Rocket Research WWII

Sir Alwyn Crow, (Pictured at Left) Chief of Great Britain’s secret missile projects during WWII, and Winston Churchill’s special advisor in military technology, once said to Norman, “you’re really creating miniature universes aren’t you?” After years of research, and the investment of $75,000.00 of his own money (in today’s economy that’s close to 2 million dollars!), Dean took his discovery to industry. His work generated much interest, but one after another (Sperry and Litton among them) told him that due to post war (World War II) funding cuts, no new research projects were being undertaken and he was turned away. Dean consulted with Senator William F. Knowland, and they agreed to introduce Dean’s technology to the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research.


The Navy must have your technology; It’s vital for national security interests.

The office of US Naval Research, in 1948 expressed such great interest in the Stellar Spatial Inertial Gyroscope, Dean’s math, as well as his hardware, that when they heard of the impending patent applications, the Navy, casually mentioned, that if they could not buy the invention and system, they would hamper any future development, and “take” the system under “the Act” which gave the Government wider rights when it came to sensitive technology with a military interest. Dean, a patriot, and his attorney, General Semms, made a rather astonishing offer to the Navy- the device would be given to the US Government for the price of $1.00, with the contractual stipulation, that in the future, if the technology was released into the public sector, Dean would have the exclusive right to buy back the rights, “with any improvements” for the same sum of $1.00.

The “Father” of inertial navigation meets the “Mother” of all inertial systems yet to come!

Dr. C.S. Draper

Dr. C.S. Draper

Dean was introduced to the Navy’s chief research and development people, the principal lead developer was Dr. Charles S. Draper, (Pictured at left) of the MIT Instrumentation Division, and a well recognized expert in gyroscopic systems. In the course of several meetings Dean briefed Draper on the Arcturas Project. Draper then introduced his staff to Dean’s work, where Dr. Draper was quoted during the introduction “This is the first stellar spatial inertial gyroscope ever built”. Draper went on further and said, “This gyroscope, in its present form, is better than anything we have even hoped to achieve in ten years.” Dean’s work laid the foundation for Draper’s later refinements that resulted in the development of a complete inertial navigation system for manned and unmanned vehicles, which performs successfully in unfavorable weather and does not rely on information from external sources.

Dean, his hands tied by the secrecy of his agreement with the US Navy, watched in sadness as his work was credited to Draper. Draper went on to become known as the “Father of Inertial Navigation”. Draper’s small group became MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory. The Laboratory was later divested from MIT in 1973, when it formed a separate, non-profit research and development laboratory — The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.

Dean stood among the pioneer members of inertial navigation. Monumental efforts such as the Apollo landing on the moon and development of guidance systems or components for all deployed strategic missiles bear the stamp of “the first stellar spatial inertial gyroscope”. Nationally, Dean’s work made Draper famous and has created a multibillion-dollar industry.

The Man who Corrected Newton.

As early as 1948, Dean was recognized as “The man who corrected Newton” wherein he proved that Newton’s third Law needed, as he called it- “amplification” and offered this amendment “The effect of action and reaction is not necessarily simultaneous and can be sequential”. It became known as the “phasing phenomena”.

He held a number of significant Original patents for “Converting Rotary Motion into Unidirectional Motion”. In 1963, the cold wars still raging, a Russian scientist laid claim to the “phasing phenomena” and was promptly refuted by Dean. In a telegram, dated January 15, 1963, addressed to then President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, wherein he (Dean) stated…”It is illustrated in my foreign and domestic patents issued as early as 1959“… “Must we have Russian verification before acceptance of American discoveries?” Dean later went on to develop (circa 1954) The Dean System Drive; also known as the Dean Space Drive.

Dean Systems Incorporated

Picture of John Campbell

Author & Publisher ANALOG Magazine

Dean’s team of domestic and international supporters grew, and included many well known persons in the scientific community, including Sir Alwyn Crow (Pictured above), Churchill’s wartime technical advisor on missile systems (a co-founder of the later Aerojet Corp..) and John W. Campbell, (Pictured at left) who would later introduce the “Dean System Drive” to a vast audience of science lovers around the world through his bully pulpit- the hugely popular Analog magazine.

The Dean Legacy

Dean’s Legacy, has inspired countless thousands to reach for their dreams and goals, for decades many thousands have followed his work, and continue to seek the secrets of the Dean System Drive.Norman Lormer Dean died on December 20,1972. In tribute to his memory, this web site will help spread the word of his incredible contributions to Physics and the Sciences.

Use of Inertial Navigation on Commercial Flights in 1969 by PanAM


PanAm -First Inertial Nav Flight over the Pole