Board of Directors
Franklin R. Chang Díaz serves as Chairman of the Ad Astra Board and Chief Executive Officer since July of 2005. An astronaut with NASA for 25 years and a veteran of seven space shuttle flights, Dr. Chang Díaz holds a PhD. in plasma physics from MIT and is the inventor of the VASIMR® engine. He led the initial experiments at MIT and the Johnson Space Center and is the author of the original NASA patents on the technology. With over 30 years of experience in R&D programs and space operations, he also serves on the board of directors of Cummins Inc. (CMI, NYSE) a major US publicly traded company.
Jared P. Squire is a member of the board of directors, as well as the Senior Vice President of Research. One of Ad Astra’s founding shareholders; Dr. Squire has led the research arm of the company since its inception and has been deeply involved in all aspects of VASIMR® development since 1995 when he joined the team at NASA. A consummate experimental physicist with more than twenty years of experience in large research programs, Dr. Squire has played a critical role in the successful evolution of the rocket development, from a physics test-bed validating the principles of operation, to the highly integrated, 200kW VX-200 prototype. Dr. Squire holds a Ph.D. degree in Physics with emphasis on fusion energy research from MIT.
Robert E. Singer serves as an outside director and Board Secretary since July of 2005. A distinguished Houston attorney, Mr. Singer supported the initial incorporation of Ad Astra on behalf of Dr. Chang Díaz and represented the firm during the negotiations with NASA for the privatization of the VASIMR® project. From 1996 to the present, Mr. Singer has been in private practice providing general legal representation to privately-held companies. From 1979 until 1996, he was a partner in the law firm of Lipstet, Singer & Hirsch. He holds a J.D. degree from the University of Texas and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Edelmiro Muñiz has served as an outside director since the company’s inception in 2005. A highly successful businessman and entrepreneur, Mr. Muñiz is the founder and owner of MEI Technologies Inc., a major engineering company based in Houston supporting commercial and government contracts nationwide. Mr. Muñiz has extensive experience with NASA and the Department of Defense. He retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Col. after 20 years of service in space operations, including commanding the First Manned Space Flight Control Squadron at NASA. Mr. Muñiz holds Masters and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University.
George W. S. Abbey serves as one of Ad Astra’s outside directors since July of 2005. With over 45 years of experience in the US Space Program, he is the former Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and served as a Senior Director for Civil Space Policy for the National Space Council in the Executive Office of the President. Mr. Abbey is also a Senior Fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston. He holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy.
José A. Zaglul serves as one of Ad Astra’s outside directors since April of 2013. He is President of EARTH University, an international institution focusing on sustainable development in Costa Rica, since the institution’s inception in 1989. A recognized figure in sustainable development, with proven leadership and management experience, Dr. Zaglul has led the implementation of the university’s ambitious educational and leadership programs. Dr. Zaglul received a Master’s degree from the American University of Beirut in 1973 and Master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Florida. He is an Honorary Doctor of Public Service, Chatham University, 2010, Honorary Doctor, National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, 2011.
Anne S. Andrew serves as one of Ad Astra’s outside directors since October 2013. Former US Ambassador to Costa Rica (2009 - 2013), Anne Slaughter Andrew, is a distinguished attorney, entrepreneur. and environmentalist. A prominent business woman and entrepreneur, Ambassador Andrew co-founded and, from 1995 through 2007, served as Managing Director of the Anson Group, an Indianapolis based biotechnology consulting company. She holds a Bachelor Degree, Georgetown University (1977) and Law Degree, Cum Laude Indiana University School of Law (1983)
Theodore “Tim” M. Solso serves as one of Ad Astra’s outside directors since November 2013. Mr. Solso is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Motors Company (GM, NYSE) and the former Chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc. (CMI, NYSE) (2000 - 2011). A distinguished businessman and entrepreneur, he is past chairman of the U.S. – Brazil CEO Forum and served on President Obama’s President Management Advisory Board. In addition to his business activities, Mr. Solso has a long record of involvement in environmental, educational and social justice initiatives. Mr. Solso holds a Bachelor Degree from DePauw University (1969) and an MBA from Harvard University (1971).