Space Propulsion

First Flight Unit

The VF-200TM engine is the first flight unit of the VASIMR® engine. It will be tested in space where the thrust and performance can be measured without the limitations of ground-based space simulation chambers. The VF-200TM will consist of two 100 kW thruster units side-by-side.

The VF-200TM engine is being designed to reach the steady-state operating temperature to prove that it is capable of operating indefinitely for future missions. Ad Astra has proposed a flight test on the International Space Station (ISS) that could use small amounts of electrical power from the ISS to charge a large battery pack capable of powering the thrusters for approximately 15 minutes at full power during each pulse. Other space testing approaches are being considered, including a dedicated special purpose free flyer or an existing space test platform.

 
Concept of the VASIMR® Aurora ISS payload, including VF-200TM engine, mounted on the International Space Station
 
 
Another view of the VASIMR® Aurora ISS payload concept mounted on the International Space Station
 
 A movie clip of the VF-200TM mock-up