Franklin Chang Diaz
Ad Astra Rocket Company
Monday, January 11, 2021
This talk will cover the technical and programmatic milestones in the development of the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR®) from its early origins in the 1980s at MIT, through its formative years as a NASA project, to its technological maturation at Ad Astra Rocket Company. Chang-Diaz will discuss its present status, major challenges and the company’s current plans for full commercial deployment of the technology in support of a rapidly emerging space market.
Bio: 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.