Ad Astra Rocket Company (AARC)
Ad Astra Rocket company is a rocket propulsion company set up to develop advanced plasma rocket propulsion technology. The company is continuing with development of VASIMR (the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket) and its associated technologies at its Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory (ASPL). Ad Astra Rocket Company is located within the confines of the NASA Johnson Space Center, about 25 miles south of Houston, Texas.
AARC (formerly Ad Astra Technologies, Inc.) was incorporated on Jan. 14, 2005 and officially organized on the Jul. 15, 2005. Former Space Shuttle astronaut Franklin R. Chang Diaz serves as company President and CEO. Chang Diaz invented the VASIMR concept and has been working on its development since 1979, starting at The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge Massachusetts and continuing at the MIT Plasma Fusion Center before moving the project to the Johnson Space Center in 1994. In the development of the VASIMR engine, Ad Astra Rocket Company is teamed with NASA JSC, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston and other various government space and research centers, industrial companies and academia including foreign universities.