Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…
“plasma engines”
Phase Four Raises $26m Series B led by New Science Ventures
Two recently built Maxwell engine flight units ready for delivery. (Credit: Phase Four)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., June 11, 2021 (Phase Four PR) — Phase Four, the creator of the radio-frequency thruster for satellite propulsion, announced today that it has closed a Series B investment round of $26 million.  The round was led by New Science Ventures LLC (“NSV”), a leading venture capital firm focused on building companies that leverage breakthrough science to create extraordinary value.

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  • June 11, 2021
Plasma Propulsion for Small Satellites
Rest firing of Europe’s Helicon Plasma Thruster. (Credit: SENER)

A test firing of Europe’s Helicon Plasma Thruster, developed with ESA by SENER in Spain. This compact, electrodeless and low voltage design is ideal for the propulsion of small satellites, including maintaining the formation of large orbital constellations.

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  • September 3, 2020
NIAC Award: A Pulsed Plasma Rocket for Fast Human Transits to Mars
Depiction of the Pulsed Plasma Rocket: Shielded, Fast Transits for Humans to Mars concept. (Credits: Steven Howe)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award
Amount: $125,000

Pulsed Plasma Rocket: Shielded, Fast Transits for Humans to Mars

Steven Howe
Howe Industries LLC

Development of a space faring civilization will depend on the ability to move cargo efficiently and humans rapidly. Due to the large distances involved in space travel, the ships must reach a high velocity for reasonable mission transit times. Thus, propulsion systems with high specific impulse (Isp) AND high thrust are required.

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  • April 18, 2020
Ad Astra Rocket Company Forms Partnership With MEI Technologies


January 15, 2009

Ad Astra Rocket Company, a world leader in plasma rockets and MEI Technologies, Inc., a nationwide aerospace, defense and technology company, have joined forces creating a strategic alliance in support of Ad Astra’s Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®) rocket development.


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  • January 16, 2010
EADS-Astrium to Test New Plasma Thruster

A new type of plasma thruster (helicon double layer) invented by a physicist from the Australian National University (ANU) some years ago will be tested in a prototype satellite to be launched into space over the next four years . This is the first propellant propellant of this type and it will be the first time a spacecraft will use this type of propellant.

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  • June 21, 2009
Electric Plasma Engines Becoming Key to Future Space Exploration

The Efficient Future of Deep-Space Travel – Electric Rockets
Scientific American

Alone amid the cosmic blackness, NASA’s Dawn space probe speeds beyond the orbit of Mars toward the asteroid belt. Launched to search for insights into the birth of the solar system, the robotic spacecraft is on its way to study the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, two of the largest remnants of the planetary embryos that collided and combined some 4.57 billion years ago to form today’s planets.


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  • January 29, 2009