QCOSTARICA – The Ad Astra Rocket, a company founded by Costa Rican astronaut c, broke another record for long-life/high-power firing of its VASIMR VX-200SS plasma engine.
This achievement marks a milestone in energy-efficient and powerful electric rocket technology.
An electric rocket like the VASIMR VX-200SS, which operates at more than 50 kilowatts (kW) / booster, is considered “high power.”
On Wednesday, June 30, based on a succession of tests earlier this year, of increasing duration and power, the company completed a record test of the engine, operating at a power level of 82.5 kW for 28 hours, far more than any other high-powered engine to date.
Testing is ongoing at the company’s research facility in Houston, Texas.
The VASIMR engine is unique in that it has the high power of a chemical rocket, but is ten times more fuel-efficient.
As such, it has multiple applications, ranging from high payload solar-electric robotic commercial payloads and resupply missions in cis-lunar space, to fast nuclear-electric human missions to Mars and beyond.
“We are very proud of the Ad Astra team. His technical excellence, tenacity and dedication are reflected in this achievement. No other plasma electric rocket, with these levels of power and technological availability, has achieved the combination of power and endurance of the VASIMR engine achieved to date,” said Chang.