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Hardship, determination and innovation.

How a student team starting from a garage became known across the world of spaceflight for its ecological rocket propulsion technology and unprecedented cost effectiveness.


ARCA Space started in 1998 with an aerospace engineering and theology student, Dumitru Popescu. He and a handful of colleagues decided to build space rockets at the place where Hermann Oberth, the father of spaceflight, was born, in Sibiu, Romania.


At the time, shortly after the fall of Communism, Romania was going through a difficult economic situation. ‘Investment’ was a rarely used word. Dumitru started ARCA in a garage, with his wedding money, and managed to build his first space rocket hardware there.


But when the team reached out to the Romanian Space Agency, they were met with adversity. ARCA went its own way and a few years later, in 2004, it successfully launched Romania’s first private rocket from a Romanian Air Force base on the Black Sea shore. The Agency failed to match that achievement, but nonetheless continued to denigrate in the press ARCA’s own.


In 2006, ARCA Space built and launched the world’s largest solar balloons, carrying spacecraft hardware into the stratosphere. In 2010, it launched the first suborbital rocket from an off-shore location in the Black Sea, with the logistical support of the Romanian Navy. In response, the Romanian Space Agency’s director at the time spent one hour on live TV trying to minimise that result, but had nothing similar to show for his own organisation.


In 2015, ARCA presented a flying hoverboard to Prince Albert of Monaco. The technology drew massive press interest. DARPA and the US Army awarded ARCA Space with a contract to develop the product for military applications.


Since 2020, ARCA Space has been developing the EcoRocket, an ecological, unprecedentedly cost-effective spaceflight technology. It scheduled the first suborbital and orbital launches from the Black Sea in 2021. The Romanian Space Agency again opposed and disparaged the project. The Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused on two occasions to issue the final launch clearance, even though ARCA had completed the authorisation process, and many other civilian and military organisations were supporting the launches. However, the team did not relent. It went on to conduct a low altitude flight test, which demonstrated EcoRocket’s active flight control system and the ecological water-based propulsion technology. For future launches, ARCA Space decided to move the operations in another country to avoid the toxic environment created by some governmental institutions that are supposed to support and encourage such initiatives.


Based on the EcoRocket technology, ARCA is currently developing the world’s heaviest rocket and the AMi Exploration program. The latter aims to unlock the biggest wealth source through asteroid mining operations, using present-day, proven technology and a clear timeline.


ARCA’s 24 year history is living proof of its two core values.

Determination made the team push forward and never give up, in spite of relentless adversity, like the Romanian Space Agency campaigning in the press against the team, continuously for 20 years.

Innovation helped ARCA Space to create unprecedentedly cost-effective and ecological spaceflight technologies.

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