Ad Astra Completes Testing Round on VASMIR Rocket Engine

Aviation Week reports that Ad Astra has finished an extensive round of testing on its plasma engine:

Ad Astra Rocket Co., led by former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, reports new strides in the performance of its experimental 200-kw. Variable Specific Impulse Magneto-plasma Rocket (Vasimr), the VX-200, which the company is developing as a commercial propulsion source for a range of future deep space and possible near-Earth missions…

Earlier this week, Ad Astra completed a six-month round of testing in which it dramatically improved the timing and performance of the startup of the VX-200’s 30-kw. first stage. Other testing in the company’s large vacuum chamber verified efficiencies of greater than 50% in the conversion of electricity to thrust through 112 kw., with combined first- and second-stage operations.

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