Ad Astra Rocket Company lead by Costa Rican physicist, mechanical-engineer and former NASA astronaut, Franklin Chang, signed an agreement with Aethera Technologies Limited, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to receive additional funding for the development of the VASIMR® engine.
The financing of $1.5 million, “Provides a measure of Canada’s long-term vision of the importance of high-power electric propulsion in humanity’s gradual evolution beyond low Earth orbit and the unique and ongoing contribution of that nation’s technology base to the exploration of space” said Chang.
“With Canada’s involvement in the project, the VASIMR engine takes on a stronger international flavor”, added the scientist.
Ad Astra explained that the critical element of the engine he RF- PPUs are being supplied by Aethera to support the upcoming 100-hour continuous high-power firing test of the VASIMR® VX-200SSTM engine. The test is scheduled for the fourth trimester of 2018 under the association NextStep of NASA with Ad Astra.
Once this test is completed, all the systems of the VASIMIR engine will at or above Technology Readiness Level (TRL) – 5, the step just prior to a space flight test.
“Ad Astra’s VASIMR® technology has the potential to open dramatic new opportunities in the commercialization of space and we are extremely pleased to be a partner with Ad-Astra and receive support from the CSA in developing this world class technology in Nova Scotia” expressed Aethera’s President, Kirk Zwicker.