Franklin Chang Díaz
Ad Astra Rocket Company
- SPOTLIGHT: Harnessing Latin America’s Potential for Clean Hydrogen Production
Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz is Chairman and CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company, a Texas based US aerospace firm developing high-power in-space electric propulsion. Ad Astra’s Costa Rica subsidiary focuses on green hydrogen and renewable energy infrastructure globally. A former NASA astronaut and veteran of 7 space missions, he logged over 1,600 hours in space, including 19 hours in three space walks, during his 25-year NASA career. In 1994, he founded and directed NASA’s Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory to develop the physics of his 1980 invention, the VASIMR® rocket, and founded Ad Astra in 2005 to commercialize the technology. Inducted in the US Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2012, Dr. Chang Díaz is a four-time recipient of NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal, the agency’s highest honor. He holds a PhD in applied plasma physics from MIT and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Connecticut. He is Adjunct Professor of Physics at Rice University and the University of Houston.