Ad Astra Rocket Company (AARC) is a spaceflight engineering company dedicated to the development of advanced plasma rocket propulsion technology. The company is developing the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®) engine and its associated technologies.
The company is located 3 miles to the West of the NASA Johnson Space Center, and about 25 miles to the South of the city of Houston, TX. AARC was incorporated on January 14th, 2005 and officially organized on the 15th of July of 2005.
Dr. Franklin R. Chang Díaz serves as company President and CEO. Dr. Chang Díaz 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 has collaborated with NASA Johnson Space Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston and various other government space and research centers, industrial companies and academic organizations, including foreign universities.