ARCA Relocates UAS Development to Las Cruces


On July 13 at the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory hangar at the Las Cruces International Airport, the ARCA Space Corporation announced it is relocating its North American headquarters to Las Cruces.

ARCA is a Romanian-based aerospace research and development company, which will produce its AirStrato unmanned aerial vehicle in Las Cruces.

Dennis Zaklan, deputy director of the NMSU UAS Flight Test Center, said ARCA and NMSU partnering is significant for the next chapter of UAS. ARCA has the first medium-altitude long-endurance UAS and with an ultimate goal of developing a high-altitude UAS.

“As UAS has progressed and some of the technical issues with the FAA get solved, then medium-altitude and high-altitude UAS will be the future,” Zaklan said. “We’re truly looking forward to having them here and working closely with them.”

ARCA CEO Dumitru Popescu, who traveled from Romania to attend the announcement, said Las Cruces was the best choice his company could have made.

“Besides our technology, we are bringing to Las Cruces a well-known aerospace brand and a promise that we will create at least 100 high-paying jobs in the next three years and I’m being very conservative,” he noted at the press conference. “So please allow me to ask you this—if we could manage to do all of this in Europe, a place where it is difficult to test and fly aerospace vehicles, imagine what we could do in New Mexico?”

Popescu also mentioned that while others may see only the endless desert of New Mexico he envisioned something much different.

“We see a great treasure—a place to safely test new vehicles and technologies for aviation and space exploration. So here we are prepared to push the envelope for our aerospace vehicles, AirStrato, our unmanned aerial system, and for the Haas rocket series,” Popescu said.

Many local and state officials attended the ARCA announcement, which was assisted by the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, including Gov. Susana Martinez.

“We’ve been working hard to make New Mexico more competitive especially for manufacturing like ARCA,” Gov. Martinez said at the press conference. “They are one of the most well-known companies in private space flight.

“The project will create over 100 new jobs with an average salary of $52,000,” she continued. “We’re proud to have ARCA here and confident they will grow our reputation as an aerospace industry leader.”

The company will invest $1.2 million to start the activities. The New Mexico Economic Development Department will contribute $500,000 in Local Economic Development funds toward the construction of ARCA Space’s new 14,000 sq. ft. hangar and manufacturing space. The City of Las Cruces will also provide ARCA Space abated lease of office, showroom and hanger space for one year – an estimate value of $55,000.

“I am thrilled that ARCA Space will make Las Cruces home for the production of its innovate, electric-powered aircraft and further diversify New Mexico’s economy,” Governor Martinez said. “Not only does New Mexico now have a competitive business environment but a strong aerospace infrastructure with New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory and Spaceport America positioning New Mexico to be an industry leader”

ARCA SPACE CORPORATION is committed to create at least 100 well-paid jobs in the next three years, with an average yearly salary of $52,000.


“Manufacturing and testing of AirStrato high-performance, electric powered, unmanned aerial system, is the foundation on which we build our enterprise here in Las Cruces. But it is far from being the end of our goals for ARCA in New Mexico. Two space vehicles, currently in development at ARCA will be brought here in the near future for testing, manufacturing and operations from Spaceport America. I’m talking about Haas 2B suborbital rocket intended for space tourism and Haas 2C orbital rocket intended for commercial orbital payload deliveries”, ARCA CEO, Dumitru Popescu said.

ARCA intends to become one of the major contenders on the newly emerging global UAV market with limitless applications for AirStrato aircraft such as stratospheric experiments, data transmission, border surveillance, search and rescue and disaster relief, affordable even to small organizations and private persons. AirStrato is a large 2 electric powered unmanned aerial vehicle unique for its high performance and low cost. It is intended to bridge the gap between high performance high price military UAV and low performance low cost commercially available aerial drones. There are two versions available, a stratospheric capable long endurance AirStrato Explorer and a low altitude AirStrato Pioneer. Both variants can be powered by solar panels or hybrid propulsion. The company is currently working with the NMSU Flight Test Center to secure the FAA certification.

“The Economic Development Department, local officials, Mesilla Valley Economic Development and New Mexico State University all played an important role in bringing this amazing project to Las Cruces,” Secretary Barela said. “As New Mexico continues to gain momentum in its job creation efforts, we look forward to more cross collaboration to attract businesses to our state.”

ARCA SPACE Corporation is a US-based aerospace research and development company, which started as an NGO in the European Union, Romania. During its 16 years of activity, before relocating to the United States, ARCA SPACE has succeeded in launching 15 flights innovative and successful missions. ARCA was one of the major contenders in the $10 million, Ansari X-Prize Competition, launching the Demonstrator 2B rocket. Following Ansari X-Prize ARCA was involved in the Google Lunar X-Prize, succeeding in launching successive stratospheric mission and culminating with the launch of Helen 2C rocket. In 2008, ARCA secured three governmental aerospace contracts worth $2.2 million for aerospace technologies and for military applications. In 2012 ARCA secured a $1.4 million contract with the European Space Agency to test the ExoMars spacecraft atmospheric re-entry parachutes.

Currently, ARCA SPACE Corporation is working to complete the flight tests of AirStrato high altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial system and to test the Haas 2B and Haas 2C launchers. Haas 2B is designed for space tourism and it will offer a true astronaut experience similar with the Redstone rocket used to bring the first American into space. Haas 2B will be operated from Spaceport America. Haas 2C is a two stage, low cost orbital rocket that can deliver commercial payloads up to 800lbs in low Earth orbit.

Sources: Press Releases

One comment

  1. ARCA is an organisation of scammers.

    They are specialized in building empty fiber glass barrels shaped as rockets, planes, etc. and making fake video aimed to convince people their creations are able to fly.
    A short look at the technical characteristics of Air Strato is enough, even for a high school student, to prove that this airplane is ridiculously underpowered and unable to fly.

    Technical characteristics of Air Strato:
    1) Engine thrust at sea level – 6 x 20 kgf
    2) Power source
    Installed power of solar cells – 2,800 W
    Power generator for hybrid version – 5,100 W
    3) Take-off speed – 54 km/h

    By using the relation:

    Power = Thrust x Speed

    it follows that the total thrust of the six propellers multiplied by the minimum speed (the takeoff velocity) is well below the available onboard power:


    6 x 20 kg x 9.81m/s^2 x (54000m/3600s) = 17.658 kW

    The maximum available power of Air Strato, according to ARCA, is 2.8 kW + 5.1 kW = 7.9 kW and the plane needs 17.658 kW only to stay aloft, without climbing. The discrepancy is huge.

    The member of ARCA do not know physics. They try to mislead people with a site that apparently shows various technical details of their plane, Air Strato, but in reality they are bluffing hoping to get funds with which they will run away.

    ARCA has a long history, dating back to 2004, of obtaining money, building an empty fiber glass profile looking like a plane or rocket and finally, after some fake or misleading videos posted on the net, abandoning the project and starting something else.

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