On Bauer Business Focus—A conversation about the future of space travel with Houston Public Media News 88.7 Business Reporter Andrew Schneider.
Franklin Chang Diaz, former astronaut and now CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company, stopped by Bauer Business Focus to discuss how his company is changing the way rocket engines provide propulsion.
Ad Astra was founded in 2005, when Diaz moved to privatize a technology that originated at the Johnson Space Center to speed up the research.
“We had been working on a rocket engine for about 25 years here at the Johnson Space Center,” Diaz said. “It actually worked out. With all the travails of NASA in the last few years, it was a good thing that we privatized, so we could focus on the development and get it ready.”
The rocket engine uses plasma and uses electricity rather than chemistry for providing propulsion.
“This allows us to go to very high temperatures of close to a couple of million degrees, which means the container that the rocket casing is made out of is really a nonmaterial container. It has to be made up of a magnetic field,” Diaz said.