NASA Administrator Hails Agreement With Ad Astra
This is the first such agreement for a payload on the station’s exterior and represents an expansion of NASA’s plans to operate the U.S. portion of the space station as a national laboratory. This effort follows the success achieved by the agency last year in reaching multiple agreements to utilize internal station sites for this endeavor.
“Ad Astra’s Space Act Agreement with NASA offers an example of just the kind of research and technology development that we should be doing on the International Space Station, can do there, and cannot easily do anywhere else,” NASA Administrator
NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Operations
The VASIMR project will pave the way in demonstrating a new class of larger, more complex science and technology payloads to be installed on the station’s exterior. Smaller projects already have been started for installation inside the station as part of the effort to use the U.S. portion of the station as a national laboratory. NASA hopes the agreement with Ad Astra will encourage other entities, governmental and commercial, to pursue similar projects and to facilitate the success of those projects by providing a model for implementation.
Chang-Diaz, a former astronaut and veteran of seven space shuttle flights is a plasma physicist. In 2001, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awarded him the Wyld Propulsion Award for his 21 years of research on the VASIMR engine.
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