Nautel Technology Pushes Plasma Rockets Closer to Reality

Hackett’s Cove, Nova Scotia — Utilizing high efficiency solid state RF generators made by Nautel Limited, Ad Astra Rocket Company has achieved a new power milestone on its VASIMR® VX-200 rocket project. The company reported reaching its highly-coveted 200 kW maximum power milestone on September 30, 2009 in tests conducted at Ad Astra’s Houston, Texas laboratory.

An acronym for Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, VASIMR® is a new high-power plasma-based space propulsion technology originally studied by NASA and now in private development by Ad Astra. The VASIMR® engine works with plasmas, electrically charged fluids that can be heated to extreme temperatures by radio waves and controlled and guided by strong magnetic fields. Ad Astra partnered with Nautel, who supplied the high power RF generators for generating the plasma gases used for propulsion. The company hopes for a 2014 commercial deployment of the technology, which could greatly reduce the operational costs of space exploration and shorten transit times for missions to Mars and beyond.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Ad Astra on this exciting project and congratulate them on achieving this important milestone in their development,” said Peter Conlon, President and CEO of Nautel. “Projects such as these are not only exciting developments in space sciences, they inspire our engineers to continue pushing the limits in efficiency and capabilities of our standard broadcast transmitter and navigational beacon lines.”

Sample video of VASIMR® plasma rocket technology may be viewed on YouTube using this link:

About Ad Astra Rocket Company

Ad Astra Rocket Company is a privately-owned corporation established January 14, 2005 to commercialize the technology of the VASIMR® engine, a plasma propulsion system originally studied by NASA with potential to support an emerging in-space transportation market. The company has its main laboratory and corporate headquarters at 141 W. Bay Area Boulevard in Webster, Texas, USA. Ad Astra also owns and operates Ad Astra Rocket Company, Costa Rica, a supporting research and development subsidiary in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

About Nautel

Nautel is a global leader in the design, manufacture, sales and support of high power Radio Frequency (“RF”) products for AM and FM broadcast, navigation, industrial and space-based applications. With a long history of creating highly innovative products, Nautel continues to lead the way in providing valuable new solutions for the digital radio broadcast revolution. Thousands of customers in more than 177 countries have discovered that Nautel delivers world class RF solutions – systems that meet stringent quality standards at its ISO-registered manufacturing facilities.