ARCA Space Founder Taken Into Custody by Homeland Security

Dumitru Popescu

After having fraud charges dropped against him, ARCA Space Founder Dumitru Popescu has more legal woes. Here’s an update from the company’s Facebook page about his impending deportation to Romania:

It’s not over yet. Dumitru was taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security this morning, without warning.

When Dumitru was arrested in October of last year, The DHS cancelled his business visa, and provided him with a temporary visa, allowing him to stay until his case ended. Despite all charges against Dumitru being dismissed and Dumitru’s immediate efforts to restore his legal status in the US, he was taken into custody before he had a chance to do so.

The DHS agent in charge of Dumitru is also denying Dumitru the right to speak to his immigration attorney, telling Dumitru something to the effect of “You don’t have this right, because you don’t exist.” Dumitru was also told he will be held at a detention center for around 2 weeks before being deported.

Dumitru also suffers from a life-threatening medical condition that requires medication, and the last time he was taken into custody, he was denied medication for 5 days, leaving him in extremely poor condition.

We will provide more details as soon as we can.

Charges Dropped Against ARCA Space CEO

Dumitru Popescu

The Las Cruces Sun News reports on some good news for the head of ARCA Space Corporation:

State prosecutors on Monday dropped 18 criminal charges against the CEO of a space technology company based in Doña Ana County.

ARCA Space Corporation CEO Dumitru Popescu had been facing a series of fraud, securities fraud and embezzlement charges.

But Monday, Benjamin Schrope, special assistant district attorney with the state securities division, filed a brief notice in 3rd Judicial District Court in Las Cruces to dismiss the case.

That happened after a state grand jury heard last week declined to indict Popescu after hearing 14 hours of testimony in two separate sessions.

Videos: ARCA Space CEO Claims Abuse of Power and Civil Rights Violations

There’s also a long press release that accompanies these videos.

Video 2 Timestamp
(also available on YouTube in the video description)

0:00:00 – Introduction and overview
0:01:40 – Listed as “Fugitive from Justice” while returning to U.S.
0:03:49 – Warrantless arrest

Part 1: Main Witness – Popescu’s Former Wife

0:03:59 – Involvement of my second former wife (not Simona)
0:05:08 – False testimony from my former wife
0:06:56 – “The ArcaBoard doesn’t fly as depicted”
0:08:18 – Never saw it with her own eyes, only the edited videos
0:08:43 – False transcription in investigation report: “unedited videos”
0:09:55 – This is all state evidence, so draw your own conclusions
0:10:38 – “The Defiant drone doesn’t fly as depicted”
0:12:53 – Doesn’t know the difference between AirStrato and Defiant
0:14:27 – Unedited video ArcaBoard flying
0:15:50 – Unedited video of Defiant drone flying
0:17:17 – Testimony of work colleagues ignored
0:23:28 – “He escaped from Romania” “I read on Internet”
0:24:25 – “Take the money and run”
0:25:32 – I traveled to Europe constantly without getting stopped
0:26:54 – If I was wanted in Romania, I would’ve been extradited
0:27:54 – “I think he’s planning to escape May 1st”
0:30:02 – Why I didn’t leave in May: “He wants all the possible money”
0:31:07 – “I plan to divorce him” Yet I had already filed for divorce
0:33:32 – “Experts from Internet”
0:36:44 – “He took $50,000 from German company and didn’t deliver”
0:38:27 – Audio from German company: no dispute with ARCA.
0:40:25 – False transcription: I spent German money on honeymoon
0:41:50 – Reference to Michael Persico of Anova Technologies
0:44:33 – Clarification on the purpose of this video

Part 2: Main Witness – Michael Persico

0:45:31– Involvement of Michael Persico of Anova Technologies
0:48:13 – Charged with fraud of $215,000 despite Persico’s statement
0:49:42 – Persico: “AirStrato program would take 2 years / $5 million”
0:52:04 – Persico informed of ArcaBoard program and more investors
0:52:38 – Persico refuses investors
0:53:12 – Persico claims he never approved the ArcaBoard
0:55:06 – Persico claims I never provided financials or business plan
0:56:54 – Persico proposes lien on all ARCA assets for $100,000
0:58:18 – Persico refuses investors again
1:00:26 – Persico: “This stopped being my responsibility”
1:01:25 – Persico tells me to fire my attorney
1:02:19 – Persico claims he didn’t know about ArcaBoard video
1:04:58 – “Anova will own 20% of ARCA and control the board”
1:05:51 – Insufficient offer of $34,567 to fund operations
1:08:45 – Persico requests ARCA’s login data for QuickBooks
1:09:21 – Considering bankruptcy, Persico thought we were bluffing
1:11:19 – Persico claims he never got to vote at board meeting
1:12:47 – Persico resigns from board, admits conflict of interest
1:14:29 – Persico claims I owed $30,000 to landlord
1:14:46 – Persico claims he wasn’t advised of ARCA’s public offering
1:16:30 – Persico claims AirStrato UAVs are in pieces “of no value”
1:17:46 – Comparison of claims that I escaped Romania/Europe
1:19:02 – Comparison of concerns for me leaving the U.S.

Part 3: NMSD and DHS Agents

1:20:51 – Introduction: Questionable judgement and practices
1:22:29 – NMSD Agent undercover with cane and sunglasses
1:23:07 – False transcription of signed contracts for ArcaBoard
1:24:29 – Agents’ and Persico’s amusement at NMSD Agent’s “disguise”
1:27:06 – NMSD Agent says they planned to question me directly, but never did
1:28:29 – NMSD Agent doesn’t know if they have enough proof to convict me
1:30:31 – NMSD Agent charges my contract with Air Force as false statement
1:31:33 – “He’s Romanian” doesn’t know government branches
1:32:45 – Agent DHS Agent: “You’re mine, you don’t exist”
1:34:46 – DHS Agent tells my ex-wife she can give away my property
1:36:34 – DHS Agent doesn’t seem concerned with best interest of U.S.
1:38:55 – Collusion between special agents and Persico
1:40:26 – “If he gets a bond, then we take him back into custody”
1:41:55 – “We’re going to try to get him deported” after some jail time
1:43:37 – I plan to appear before a grand jury, despite statistics
1:45:08 – Offered to drop charges if I pay restitution of $1 million
1:45:53 – After exculpatory evidence, offered to drop 13 of 18 charges
1:46:32 – No deal, I will not plead guilty to any of these charges
1:47:39 – More collusion: NMSD Agent asks Persico what to charge me with
1:49:54 – NMSD Agent asks my ex-wife for my property without warrant
1:51:15 – DHS Agent: “They sound like gypsies” (my mother and I)
1:53:27 – My mother detained at airport for 16 hours
1:54:17 – Straight to charges and arrest without confirmation
1:54:48 – False charges after no money was found
1:56:24 – FBI dropped my investigation, NMSD continued anyway
1:56:52 – NMSD Agent’s explanation for continuing the case
1:59:00 – Conclusion and civil rights complaints I have filed

ARCA Space CEO Defends Himself Against Criminal Charges

Dumitru Popescu

This press release was accompanied by two videos.

LAS CRUCES, NM (Dumitru Popescu PR) — This press release is made with the intent to address attention to the abuse of power and civil rights violations of New Mexico Securities Division (NMSD) and Department of Homeland Securities (DHS) Las Cruces, New Mexico agents in the case of Dumitru Popescu, ARCA Space Corporation CEO. This Press Release has two disclosure videos attached, an introduction (Video 1) and the evidence (Video 2).

On October 24th, 2017, when Dumitru Popescu was returning from a trip from Europe to the US, he was arrested when he landed in the Atlanta airport. At that point, ARCA was only a couple of weeks from starting the tests of an advanced aerospike rocket engine at Spaceport America.

The airport authorities told him that there was an arrest warrant in his name issued by the NMSD, with accusations of securities or stock fraud. He signed a waiver of extradition to be transferred to New Mexico and in total he spent more than one month in jail awaiting transfer and bail.


Arrested ARCA Space CEO Maintains Innocence

Dumitru Popescu

A statement from ARCA Space:

ARCA Space Corporation will continue the development of its aerospace technology as scheduled.  The company has full confidence in CEO Dumitru Popescu and expects him to lead the efforts.  Mr. Popescu was charged in New Mexico state courts with alleged embezzlement and securities issues.  However, Mr. Popescu maintains his innocence and expects to prevail in court proceedings.

Meanwhile the work of the company will proceed with a goal of presenting a successful aerospike rocket engine.

ARCA Space will keep the public updated on the progress of the company.

Haas 2CA Flight Animation & Vehicle Specifications

Video Caption: Introducing the Haas 2CA Single-Stage-to-Orbit rocket. Outfitted with lightweight composite materials and the Executor aerospike engine, the Haas 2CA will be the first rocket in history to place itself into Earth’s orbit as a single stage.

Vehicle length10 m
Vehicle diameter (except fins)0.7 m
Takeoff weight2,240 kg
Dry weight120 kg
Number of stages1
PropellantHydrogen peroxide 70%
Tank pressurizationPressure fed
Chamber temperature250°C
Total thrust at sea level4,100 kgf
Total thrust in vacuum5,700 kgf
Specific impulse at sea level93 s
Specific impulse in vacuum127 s
Running time85 s
Source: ARCA Space Corporation

ARCA Space to Test Aerospike Engine at Spaceport America

ARCASpace booster with aerospike engine. (Credit: ARCA Space)

ARCA Space Corporation has announced plans to flight test its Executor aerospike engine for its Haas 2CA single-stage-to-orbit small satellite launch vehicle at Spaceport America in New Mexico in August.

The Demonstrator 3 vehicle will conduct the first test of an aerospike engine in flight during a suborbital mission that will reach an altitude of up to 100 km, the company said in a press release.


Is Arca Space to Blame for Failure of ESA’s ExoMars Lander?

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imaged the ExoMars Schiaparelli module’s landing site on 25 October 2016, following the module’s arrival at Mars on 19 October. The zoomed insets provide close-up views of what are thought to be several different hardware components associated with the module’s descent to the martian surface. These are interpreted as the front heatshield, the parachute and the rear heatshield to which the parachute is still attached, and the impact site of the module itself. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imaged the ExoMars Schiaparelli module’s landing site on 25 October 2016, following the module’s arrival at Mars on 19 October. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Accusations are flying that ESA’s ExoMars Schiaparelli lander crashed into the Red Planet due to poor ground testing conducted by a Romanian company named ARCA Space.

ESA released the preliminary conclusions after the Italian Space Agency had accused that the decisive tests for the Sciaparelli lander simulations had been entrusted to an organization “which hadn’t enough expertize”. It’s about Arca Space Romanian company, based in Las Cruces, USA, as La Repubblica reported.

In retort, the Arca Space Corporation manager, Dumitru Popescu warned the Italian space agency to be more careful, as they don’t have proves to support their accusations. “They could pay the price. We are at ease that we did all we could do: to run a specific test we should have flown very closely to the Russian base in Sevastopol. Russia has just annexed Crimea and we risked generating a conflict between the Russian Federation and NATO,” the Romanian manager argued.

ESA said last week that an inertia measurement unit became saturated with data during descent, providing data that made the lander’s computer believe the vehicle was either about to land or had already landed. The computer ordered the release of the parachute even though the lander was still 3.7 km above the martian surface.

Schiaparelli was designed to test the landing system for a rover that ESA plans to place on the surface. Agency officials have said they gained valuable data from the test.

Arca Space has set up operations in Las Cruces, NM, where it is making hover boards.

Spaceport America Signs Launch & Drone Deal With ARCA Space

Spaceport_AmericaSPACEPORT AMERICA, NM, September 1, 2015 (NMSA PR) – Spaceport America – the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport announced today ARCA Space Corporation has selected Spaceport America as the site for its space launch vehicle and high altitude autonomous aircraft testing.

ARCA Space Corporation was founded in the United States in July 2014 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. ARCA will engineer, manufacture, test and bring to market innovative and affordable aerospace products such as the AirStrato UAS and Haas rocket series from its new global headquarters.