Ad Astra Rocket Company has successfully completed all contract milestones and deliverables for the second of its three-year Next Space Technology Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) contract with NASA. The 9 million dollar, fixed-price contract remains on schedule and on budget. After a successful year-two performance review at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. on July 24, 2017 and completion of a 10-hour cumulative test of the 200SSTM rocket at 100kW, Ad Astra received NASA approval to proceed with year-three activities.
The goal of the project is to demonstrate a 100-hour continuous firing of the company's VX-200SSTM VASIMR® prototype, at a power level of 100 kW. The company marches towards this goal on schedule, along a path of interim milestones. These focus on the rocket's new active thermal management system, designed to enable it to operate at full power indefinitely.