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Ad Astra Completes Testing Round on VASMIR Rocket Engine

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 17, 2010

Aviation Week reports that Ad Astra has finished an extensive round of testing on its plasma engine:

Ad Astra Rocket Co., led by former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, reports new strides in the performance of its experimental 200-kw. Variable Specific Impulse Magneto-plasma Rocket (Vasimr), the VX-200, which the company is developing as a commercial propulsion source for a range of future deep space and possible near-Earth missions…

Earlier this week, Ad Astra completed a six-month round of testing in which it dramatically improved the timing and performance of the startup of the VX-200’s 30-kw. first stage. Other testing in the company’s large vacuum chamber verified efficiencies of greater than 50% in the conversion of electricity to thrust through 112 kw., with combined first- and second-stage operations.

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