xp65 writes to mention that Ad Astra has successfully tested their VX-200 plasma engine at full power in superconducting conditions, the first time such an engine has been tested at those power levels. "The VX-200 engine is the first flight-like prototype of the VASIMR® propulsion system, a new high-power plasma-based rocket, initially studied by NASA and now being developed privately by Ad Astra. VASIMR® engines could enable space operations far more efficiently than today's chemical rockets and ultimately they could also greatly speed up robotic and human transit times for missions to Mars and beyond."
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