The manager of the Romanian company Arca Space corporation based in Las Cruces, Dumitru Popescu, has been arrested for fraud, forgery and fund embezzlement in the USA, the American media report.
According to KVIA-TV, Popescu was arrested in Jonesboro, Georgia state last week and he was given to the authorities in New Mexico later on.
Popescu is facing 19 counts: five for money embezzlement, 13 for fraud and one for forgery.
According to a complaint filed at a court in Dona Ana county in New Mexico, Dumitru Popescu, owner of a Romanian passport, would have lied Anova Technologies company to obtain USD 20,000.
Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association (ARCA) was set up in 1999 as a non-governmental organization headquartered in Valcea, Romania, to promote innovative aerospace projects.
Among the projects developed at ARCA there were the Demonstrator rockets, the Stabilo manned suborbital vehicle, the Helen unmanned suborbital rocket and the Haas orbital rocket launcher.
For the thest of Stabilo -a two stage manned suborbital air launched vehicle completed three flights until now- was used a largest Solar Montgolfier balloon. First low altitude flights of Stabilo were completed in 2006. In the same year, Mission 1 was completed at an altitude of 14.700 m and in 2007, Mission2 was launched at an altitude of 12.000 m above the Black Sea.
On October 1, 2010, ARCA successfully launched Helen 2B rocket, at an altitude of 40.000 m from the surface of the Black Sea.
The Helen suborbital rocket is a technological demonstrator for the Google Lunar X Prize. It is a staged vehicle that uses a gravitational stability method in vertical flight without aerodynamic surfaces or jet commands, by towing the component stages and payload. The towing can be made by cable, or rigid-articulated system. The main flight was canceled two times, in 2009 (Mission 3) and 2010 (Mission 4), because of carrier balloon problems.
After that, ARCA switched his focus of development to IAR-111, a program that aims to create a supersonic high altitude airplane intended to extend ARCA’s HAAS II rocket launch capabilities in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, and for developing space tourism related technologies.
Arca’s owner, Dumitru Popescu moved to New Mexico, US in 2014, where the company is developing space products and technologies, including a space rocket.
Last year, Arca was involved in a scandal related to the ExoMars Schiaparelli crash landing on Mars. Read the full story here.