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INSIDECOSTARICA |  Thursday 30 September 2010

Costa Rica's Rocket Company Offers Stock Purchase

The Ad Astra Rocket Company with its headquarters in Houston, Texas and branch in Liberia, Guanacaste, announced on Wednesday that it will be become a limited public corporation, being listed in the Costa Rica stock exchange, offering stock to investors with a minimum of us$25.000.

The company was founded in 2005 by Costa Rican scientist and former NASA astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz, to develop a plasma engine for use in the U.S. space program.

Chang said that the type of investor that the company expects to attract are more sophisticated and knowledgeable and who have an understanding of the stock market.

Although the announcement was made yesterday, the Bolsa Nacional de Valores (Costa Rican National Stock Exchange) does not expect the stocks to be available to be public for at least three more weeks, with a tentative release date of October 12 for the stock.

The focus of Ad Astra is the development of the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) - an electro-magnetic thruster for spacecraft propulsion. It uses radio waves to ionize and heat a propellant and magnetic fields to accelerate the resulting plasma to generate thrust. It is one of several types of spacecraft electric propulsion systems.

The method of heating plasma used in VASIMR was originally developed as a result of research into nuclear fusion. VASIMR is intended to bridge the gap between high-thrust, low-specific impulse propulsion systems and low-thrust, high-specific impulse systems. VASIMR is capable of functioning in either mode.

Chang has been working on the plasma project since 1977.

More on the VASIMIR project from Wikpedia.





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