WEBSTER, Texas USA and HALIFAX, NS, Canada – A new generation radio-frequency (RF) Power Processing Unit (PPU) for the VASIMR engine, built by Aethera Technologies Ltd. of Canada, has completed a series of full power acceptance tests at Ad Astra Rocket Company’s Texas facility near Houston. The unit completed these tests on August 12 by operating in a thermal steady-state with no anomalies at its full power rating of 120 kW.
The RF PPU is now ready to be incorporated into Ad Astra’s vacuum facility so that it can be tested with the VX- 200SS VASIMR prototype. These tests are part of Ad Astra’s ongoing program under the NASA NextSTEP partnership contract.
WEBSTER, Texas USA and Halifax, NS, Canada (Aethera Technologies/Ad Astra Rocket Company PR) – A $1.5 million funding agreement has been signed between Aethera Technologies Limited of Halifax, NS and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for the development of advanced high-power radiofrequency (RF) power processing units for Ad Astra’s VASIMR® engine.
The agreement, announced by the CSA on May 25, 2018, adds a major boost to Aethera’s RF power processing unit (RF-PPU) development program. The critical and innovative technology outcomes from this program supports the ongoing partnership between Ad Astra and Aethera to develop advanced, high-power, in-space electric propulsion.
House of Representatives Space Subcommittee Hearing
In-Space Propulsion: Strategic Choices and Options Date: Thursday, June 29, 2017 – 10:00am Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building
NASA is pursuing several in-space propulsion technologies to advance not only human exploration, but also uncrewed spacecraft operations. The hearing will explore NASA’s current portfolio of investments in in-space propulsion technologies, the state of the various technologies, and how they fit into future space architectures.
Mr. William Gerstenmaier — Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, NASA
Mr. Stephen Jurczyk — Associate Administrator, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA
Dr. Mitchell Walker — Chair, Electric Propulsion Technical Committee, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz — Founder and CEO, Ad Astra Rocket Company
Mr. Joe Cassady — Executive Director for Space, Washington Operations, Aerojet Rocketdyne
Dr. Anthony Pancotti — Director of Propulsion Research, MSNW LLC
WEBSTER, Texas (Ad Astra Rocket Co. PR) – Ad Astra Rocket Company has successfully completed all milestones and deliverables for the first of its three-year Next Space Technology Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) contract with NASA. The $9 million-dollar, fixed price agreement, is structured as a one-year contract with two additional one-year extensions, based on successful completion of project milestones. After a successful year-one performance review, Ad Astra received NASA approval to proceed with year-two activities.
There seems to be a trend of prominent space experts challenging each other to debates.
First, New Horizons Supremo Alan Stern challenged Neil deGrasse Tyson to debate whether Pluto should be restored to planetary status. Stern, whose mission will explore Pluto next year, believes it should be elevated from dwarf planet status. Tyson, the driving force behind Pluto’s demotion, refused to debate the subject.
Now, it’s Robert Zubrin’s turn. The Mars Society president has challenged Ad Astra Rocket Company Founder Franklin Chang-Diaz to a debate over how to best explore Mars. Near as I can tell from the press release, it would give Zubrin a chance to demonstrate that Ad Astra’s plasma-based VASIMR engine, which Chang Diaz is promoting for rapid trips to Mars, is pretty much a fraud.
Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Ad Astra PR) — Ad Astra Rocket Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ad Astra Rocket Company, Costa Rica, SRL (Ad Astra, CR) and Costa Rica’s state-owned Petroleum Refinery, RECOPE, have signed a US$400,000 contract setting forth the next phase of their ongoing collaboration in hydrogen technology development. The agreement was signed by Litleton Bolton Jones, President of the Board of RECOPE and Franklin Chang Díaz, Ad Astra’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The partnership, which was formed in 2010, is exploring the operational viability of a hydrogen-based transportation infrastructure in Costa Rica, the primary goal of which is to reduce the nation’s reliance on imported oil. Hydrogen is a clean, renewable fuel that can be produced from water by wind and/or solar energy.
Houston, TX (Ad Astra PR) – Former Cummins Inc. (CMI, NYSE) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Theodore “Tim” Solso, an internationally-renowned technology and business leader, has been elected to the Board of Directors of Ad Astra Rocket Company. The vote was cast by the Corporation’s shareholders at their 2013 annual meeting on November 12, 2013, held at the Company’s Texas Headquarters near Houston. Solso’s election accompanies that of eight Directors who compose the nine-member Board. He becomes the 9th member to join the top leadership of the Company. His term begins immediately. All Ad Astra board members are elected annually.
Houston, TX (Ad Astra PR) – Former US Ambassador to Costa Rica, Anne Slaughter Andrew, a distinguished attorney, entrepreneur and environmentalist has been elected to the Board of Directors of Ad Astra Rocket Company. The unanimous vote was cast Friday, September 27, 2013, at Ad Astra’s Texas corporate headquarters near Houston during the board’s fourth scheduled meeting of 2013. Ambassador Andrew, a native of Evansville, Indiana, becomes the 8th member of the Ad Astra board and the first female director to join the top leadership of the company. Her term begins immediately and she will stand for re-election at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in November. All Ad Astra board members are elected annually.
Media outlets in Costa Rica are reporting on a possible investment by Astrium North America in Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz’s Ad Astra Rocket Company, which is developing the VASIMR rocket.
The capital participation in Ad Astra will be in exchange for the construction of the Aurora platform to carry the VASIMR rocket on its initial trials in space. (A model of such a platform was constructed by a consortium of small local aerospace firms last year.)
Specifically, Astrium is interested in using VASIMR to power its Astrium Automated Transfer Vehicle or ATV. The ATV is currently in service transporting cargo to the International Space Station.
But the North American subsidiary is interested in using a VASIMR-powered version for such work as establishing and repositioning satellites and space vehicles. The plasma rocket has a longer range than normal chemical rockets and is cheaper to run as well.
Business opportunities were explored last April in a technical assistance agreement signed in the United States.
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.
Former Astronaut Chang Said Costa Rican Should Insert Itself In Aerospace Development Inside Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s own former NASA astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz, feels that Costa Rican businesses should take advantage of the aerospace technology that is ripe for local businesses to be involved in a field with enormous possibilities.
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).
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.