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Showing posts from June 1, 2010

Plasma Rocket: Far More Faster! Plasma rocket could revolutionize space travel BY STEPHEN CLARK SPACEFLIGHT NOW Posted: June 1, 2010 The headquarters of Ad Astra Rocket Co. doesn't catch the eye, at least until you step inside. Inside an unsuspecting warehouse in suburban Houston, hidden behind a streetcorner strip mall, a team of elite engineers and enterprising physicists is busy developing a high-tech plasma rocket designed to carry humanity to the stars. Founded in 2005, the company accomplishes most of its work just a few minutes from Johnson Space Center, the home of Mission Control. The company's main project is the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, or VASIMR, a highly-efficient space engine running on electricity and argon gas instead of conventional solid or liquid propellants. Franklin Chang-Diaz, the project's chief architect, says the VASIMR engine is the most flight-ready high-power electric propuls