Dr. Jared P. Squire and Dr. Mark Carter gave HASSE students a detailed background of the VASIMR. The VASIMR engine travels at a much faster speed than the conventional chemical fueled engine.

HASSE Senior Space School students were invited to take part, as special guests, at an on-site-learning-experience of a project led by rocket scientist, Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz, at the Ad Astra Rocket Company, located three-miles outside the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.  Our students participated in a future rockets development presentation, which took part inside the VASIMR (Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplama Rocket) Engine Lab.  This rare and exciting opportunity truly made our visit to the Ad Astra Rocket Company extremely memorable.  


Dr. Squire obtained his PhD in Physics from MIT

Dr. Jared P. Squire and Dr. Mark Carter gave our group a detailed background and mission orientation of the VASIMR.  The establishment of the VASIMR is to generate a rocket that has high resiliency and longevity, with the ability to eliminate waste of energy in the future, and to cut costs on future rocket development.  More importantly, the VASIMR engine travels at a much faster speed than the conventional chemical fueled engine.  Such cutting edge technology makes mankind’s vision of landing of Mars much closer to reality.  Although the VASIMR engine has less thrust than a traditional engine, it operates at a much higher fuel efficiency.  The development of the VASIMR rocket engine is not limited to Mars exploration.  It is also designed to clean up space junk, as well as protecting the Earth from potentially life-threatening asteroids.  Students listened to the presentation with great enthusiasm,  quite a few students expressed afterwards on how this presentation truly opened their imagination to another level.  

Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz and the VASIMR

Dr. Jared Squire then led our group to see the actual VASIMR engine, as well as a visit to the vacuum chamber lab where many actual experiments were conducted.  HASSE students were treated to a close up visit of the ion engine in operating mode. He  took all our students questions to mark a highly informative conclusion to an awe-inspiring learning experience.  Dr. Squire obtained his PhD in Physics from MIT in 1993 and joined the VASIMR project in 1995 while the latter was still at the Johnson Space Center’s Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory (ASPL). At ASPL, Dr. Squire played a critical role in the successful evolution of the VASIMR engine, from a physics test ­bed, to the highly integrated, 200kW VX­200 prototype of today.