VASIMRÂ® VX-200 Meets Full Power Efficiency Milestone
Ad Astra Press Release
Houston, TX â€“- Nov. 23, 2010 — Ad Astra Rocket Companyâ€™s VASIMRÂ® VX-200 rocket prototype demonstrated its highest power efficiency and performance so far in tests, which ended Friday November 19 at the companyâ€™s Houston laboratory. Last weekâ€™s results met the efficiency milestone set by the company as it specifies the requirements for the VF-200 flight engine for the International Space Station. The VX-200 is the full power laboratory prototype that provides the technical basis for the design of the flight hardware.
The Ad Astra Rocket Company, founded in 2005 by Costa Rican astronaut and physicist Franklin Chang, announced Wednesday that it will become a limited public corporation, offering stock to investors willing to pay a minimum of $25,000 on Costa Ricaâ€™s National Stock Exchange.
New Rocket Engine Could Reach Mars in 40 Days Space.com
A mission trajectory study estimated that a VASIMR-powered spacecraft could reach the red planet within 40 days if it had a 200 megawatt power source. That’s 1,000 times more power than what the current VASIMR prototype will use, although Ad Astra says that VASIMR can scale up to higher power sources.
NASA will study the use of Ad Astra Rocket Company’s VASIMR engine for use on a lunar tug concept that would travel between low Earth orbit, lunar orbit and libration points, according to a January 21 procurement document. A video from Ad Astra showing how such a mission would work is above.
Ad Astra Rocket Company, a world leader in plasma rockets and MEI Technologies, Inc., a nationwide aerospace, defense and technology company, have joined forces creating a strategic alliance in support of Ad Astra’s Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMRÂ®) rocket development.
Costa Rican creates plasma rocket to pick up space trash Global Post
Before launching speedier Mars missions, Chang Diaz proposes some practical uses of the rocket closer to Earth. It could, for example, act like a DHL in outer space, in which plasma-thrust crafts would transport packages, mainly fuel, to satellites or spaceships on the cheap â€” well, cheaper. Shipments that today run to the tune of a billion dollars, according to the CEO, would cost half a billion on Ad Astra spacecrafts.
He mentioned another use that flies closer to the heart of his eco-friendly homeland. These ships could start to clean up the clutter left by disused satellites.
Ad Astra Rocket Companyâ€™s VASIMRÂ® VX-200 rocket prototype reached its highly- coveted 200 kW maximum power milestone at 11:59 am (CST) in tests conducted at the companyâ€™s Houston laboratory. The DC power trace actually exceeded the design requirement by 1 kW and exhibited the clear signature of a well established plateau at peak power (see graph).
It’s possible that one of the most unexpected places on earth â€“ or in space â€“ to find an Irish flag. But there it is, the tricolour, on a prototype plasma rocket being developed by a US company for express trips to Mars.
Route to Mars may come through Costa Rica Tico Times
The route to Mars may go through Costa Rica. On Wednesday, Ronald Chang, executive director of Ad Astra Rocket Company Costa Rica, gave a presentation at the National Museum that detailed how Costa Rica has the opportunity to serve as a vital cog in the first-ever mission to Mars.
In his presentation, Ronald Chang explained that his brother created an ion plasma rocket, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, known as VASIMR, which can reach Mars in 39 days. Using technology currently available, a rocket can travel to Mars in eight to nine months.
Ion engine could one day power 39-day trips to Mars New Scientist
Several space missions have already used ion engines, including NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which is en route to the asteroids Vesta and CeresMovie Camera, and Japan’s spacecraft Hayabusa, which rendezvoused with the asteroid Itokawa in 2005.
But a new engine, called VASIMR (Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket), will have much more “oomph” than previous ones. That’s because it uses a radio frequency generator, similar to transmitters used to broadcast radio shows, to heat the charged particles, or plasma.
Ad Astra Rocket Company has successfully demonstrated operation of its VX-200 plasma engine first stage at full power and under superconducting conditions in tests conducted today at the companyâ€™s Houston laboratory. This achievement is a key milestone in the engineâ€™s development and the first time a superconducting plasma rocket has been operated at that power level.
From his corner office at Ad Astra Rocket headquarters near Houston, Franklin R. Chang DÃaz hatches big plans. Heâ€™s tucked away behind a strip mall on a bland suburban street, but his mind is wandering the cosmos. He envisions multibillion-dollar mining operations extracting iron, cobalt, and platinum from asteroids for use in cities on the moon and Mars. He dreams of space infrastructures so evolved that astronauts freely roam the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. He sees parallel societies grown teeming and rich, and Earth gradually transformed into a grand nature preserve.
Plasma engine is ready for final test on Earth Nacion.com 31 May 2009
Translated from Spanish (Google Translate)
In Houston, Texas, laboratory of the Ad Astra Rocket Company, led by Costa Rican astronaut and physicist Franklin Chang-Diaz is preparing for an exciting week.
The high vacuum chamber of the laboratory, ten meters long and four meters in diameter, is inside the VX-200: VASIMR the prototype of the engine propulsion plasma Chang outlined three decades ago to make space travel for faster and more cheaply, and hence to explore far away places in the solar system.
I found a story (in Spanish) on Franklin Chang Diaz, the former NASA astronaut who heads up Ad Astra Rocket Company. Below is an excerpt in English courtesy of Google Translate.
Why support Franklin Chang? Elfinancierocr.com
I had the pleasure of meeting Franklin Chang in June 2006 with a handful of notes on his experiences at NASA with the physics of plasma.
His long career in the space race, after reaching the orbit of the earth seven times, had given him the vision to develop new ideas on the development of space propulsion, yea, a new era is developing in the exploration space.