Ad Astra Rocket Company and Mesoamerica Join Forces to Create Green Hydrogen Solutions Corporation, ProNova Energy

WEBSTER, Texas and SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Ad Astra Rocket Company PR) — Green hydrogen pioneer, Ad Astra Rocket Company, Costa Rica SRL, and Latin America’s asset management leader, Mesoamerica, are joining forces to form ProNova Energy, a joint venture dedicated to developing green hydrogen solutions for customers worldwide, with an initial focus in the Latin American region.

Green hydrogen is obtained by decomposing water into its constituents – hydrogen and oxygen – using renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric, wind and solar. The process, called electrolysis, is carbon free and does not contribute to global warming.


VASIMR VX-200SS Plasma Rocket Completes Record 88-hour High-power Endurance Test

VX200 engine. (Credit: Ad Astra Rocket Company)

WEBSTER, Texas (Ad Astra Rocket Co. PR) — Ad  Astra Rocket Company’s VASIMR® VX-200SS  Plasma Rocket has completed 88 hours of  continuous operation at 80 kW at the company’s  Texas laboratory near Houston. In doing so, the  company establishes a new high-power world endurance record in electric propulsion. The test  also demonstrates the maturity of the VASIMR® engine technology as a competitive option for  high-power in-space electric propulsion with  either solar or nuclear electric power. Electric  rockets operating above 50 kW/thruster are  considered “high-power.” 


LeoLabs Announces Costa Rica Space Radar “Fully Operational”

Costa Rica radar (Credit: LeoLabs)

LeoLabs achievement represents the world’s most advanced commercial space radar for mapping low Earth orbit, deployed in record time

MENLO PARK, April 22, 2021 (LeoLabs PR) — LeoLabs, Inc., the leading commercial provider of low Earth orbit (LEO) mapping and Space Situational Awareness (SSA) services, today confirmed “fully operational” status for its Costa Rica Space Radar, effective immediately. This new phased-array radar reinforces LeoLabs’ leadership as the premier data and services provider to inform and protect the rapidly expanding commercial and governmental activities in LEO.


Newly Named Asteroids Reflect Contributions of Pioneering Astronauts

In this image from 2003, retired astronaut Joan Higginbotham took a break from training for the STS-116 mission and is shown in front of a NASA T-38 trainer. (Credits: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Twenty-seven asteroids have been named in honor of African American, Hispanic, and Native American astronauts, and one cosmonaut, who have helped expand our horizons beyond Earth and to inspire the next generation of space explorers.


Aethera’s New RF Power Processing Unit for Ad Astra’s VASIMR Engine Completes Full Power Acceptance Tests

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.


Aethera Technologies, CSA Sign $1.5 Million R&D Contract Boosting Ad Astra’s VASIMR Development

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 to Hold Hearing on In-Space 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

Hearing Purpose
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

Ad Astra Rocket Company Completes First Year NextSTEP Milestones

ad_astraWEBSTER, 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.


Zubrin Challenges Chang Diaz to Debate Over Mars Exploration, VASIMR Engine

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.

Wow, who could turn down an invitation like that?


Ad Astra Signs $400K Deal on Hydrogen Technology Development

ad_astraLiberia, 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.


Ad Astra Rocket Company Elects New Director

ad_astraHouston, 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.


Former U.S. Ambassador Elected to Ad Astra Rocket Company’s Board

Members of the Ad Astra Houston team welcomed Ambassador Andrew (center) on October 2, 2013, during her first tour of the company’s U.S. facility as a member of the Ad Astra Board of Directors. (Credit: Ad Astra Rocket Company)
Members of the Ad Astra Houston team welcomed Ambassador Andrew (center) on October 2, 2013,
during her first tour of the company’s U.S. facility as a member of the Ad Astra Board of Directors. (Credit: Ad Astra Rocket Company)

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.


Astrium North America Might Invest in Ad Astra Rocket Company

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.

Read the full story.

Ad Astra Rocket Company Reaches Full Power Milestone for VASIMR VX-200 Engine

photograph of Ad Astra scientists using a laser alignment rig with the VX-200. Credit: Ad Astra Rocket Company

VASIMR® VX-200 Meets Full Power Efficiency Milestone

Ad Astra Press Release

Houston, TX –- Nov. 23, 2010 — Ad Astra Rocket Company’s VASIMR® VX-200 rocket prototype demonstrated its highest power efficiency and performance so far in tests, which ended Friday November 19 at the company’s Houston laboratory. Last week’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.


Ad Astra Rocket Company to Offer Stock to Investors

Rocket Company Launches Stock Offering
Tico Times

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 Rica’s National Stock Exchange.