After years of research and several technology demonstrations which advanced the state-of-the-art in external propulsion, we concluded that, while microwave propulsion is feasible and is capable of efficiency and performance surpassing chemical rockets, the cost of completing the R&D all the way through operations makes the concept economically unattractive for our team at this time. We also concluded that at current stage technical risks and uncertainty about the cost and timeline are still very high and are not attractive to private investors. Therefore, we decided to discontinue the operation of Escape Dynamics and stopped the R&D effort at the end of 2015.
Through our work we demonstrated end-to-end operation of a prototype thruster where energy was coming from the electric grid, converted into microwave beam via a high power microwave source, and beamed to a thermal thruster which generated efficient thrust. This and other developments represent a step forward towards novel propulsion systems which in the future could enable reusable single-stage-to-orbit flight and reduce the cost of space access beyond what is possible with chemical rockets.
As we are winding down the effort we would like to express our deep gratitude to our visionary advisers, supporters and partners who inspired our team to pursue a moonshot solution to a remarkable challenge of space access. Although we are now discontinuing our external propulsion efforts we are excited about the future of the space industry and about the disruptive innovations that are bound to come.