The British company Excalibur Exploration signed an agreement this week that will allow it to use a plasma rocket being developed by U.S.-Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang to transport its lab materials into space.
Chang is building part of this rocket, called Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), at his Ad Astra lab in the northwestern city of Liberia.
“We’re very excited about this historic agreement and very proud to form a team with a company as visionary as Excalibur Exploration,” Chang said in a statement.
Excalibur works on commercial space exploration and hopes to establish a base on the moon to examine asteroids landing there from Mars’ orbit to determine their mineral composition and extract precious materials.
No financial transaction has been made yet between the two companies.
“VASIMR is a technological key for the future of these space flights.We believe this is a great step for both (companies) and we hope it will be the first of many,” said Excalibur Exploration president Art Dula.