Ad Astra, NASA Agree to Continue Work on VASIMR Engine

A VASIMR powered space tug. (Credit: Ad Astra Rocket Company)
A VASIMR powered space tug. (Credit: Ad Astra Rocket Company)

HOUSTON, Texas (Ad Astra PR) -– Ad Astra Rocket Company and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have signed an Umbrella Space Act Agreement to continue the parties’ collaboration in the development of the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket engine (VASIMR®).

The agreement specifies a five-year term and sets out the provisions by which the parties will contribute in-kind know-how and/or resources, with no transfer of funds in either direction, to facilitate the achievement of the partnership’s common and mutually-beneficial goals and objectives. The specific tasks to meet these objectives are defined in separate companion support agreements called Annexes.

The Agreement was executed December 16, 2013 at NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) by its Director, Dr. Ellen Ochoa and by Ad Astra’s Chairman and CEO, Franklin R. Chang Díaz.

Annex-1 to the Agreement was concurrently signed on December 16, 2013 on NASA’s behalf by Mr. William S. “Bill” McArthur Jr., NASA-JSC Director of Safety and Mission Assurance (S&MA) and by Dr. Chang Díaz on Ad Astra’s behalf.

The Annex provides the terms and conditions of the parties’ continued collaboration in the development of the safety protocols and documentation, associated with the flight test of the VASIMR® system on the International Space Station. These activities were initiated in May of 2012 (


Established in 2005, Ad Astra Rocket Company is the developer of the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®) engine, an advanced plasma space propulsion system aimed at the emerging in-space transportation market. Ad Astra also owns and operates Ad Astra Servicios Energéticos y Ambientales (AASEA) and Ad Astra Rocket Company, Costa Rica, respectively supporting research and development subsidiaries in the US and Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Through its subsidiaries, the company also develops earthbound high technology applications in renewable energy, advanced manufacturing and applied physics. Ad Astra has its main laboratory and corporate headquarters at 141 W. Bay Area Boulevard in Webster, Texas, USA, about two miles from the NASA Johnson Space Center.