Space propulsion startup Ursa Major is expanding its offerings to include solid rocket motors. The company, which is known for its hypersonic technology and rocket engines, announced Lynx, a new approach to producing solid rocket motors that is faster and more flexible than traditional industrial methods.
According to founder and CEO Joe Laurienti, Ursa Major has been working on the solid rocket motor space for about two years now, driven by demand from the US Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD approached the company with a request to consider building solid rocket motors that could be used to equip allies and maintain a sufficient US stockpile to deter adversaries such as China.
Ursa Major is approaching this challenge in a different way by building solid rocket motors quickly in a factory that can be easily reconfigured to work on different types of motors. This will allow the company to produce large quantities of high-quality motors quickly and efficiently. Lynx is the manufacturing process that Ursa Major is using, which utilizes additive manufacturing technology to speed up production and increase flexibility.
With Lynx, Ursa Major expects to be able to produce 1,650 solid rocket motors per year using a single 3D printer for some smaller models. Additive manufacturing allows for significant improvements in production efficiency by reducing the number of steps required to manufacture individual parts. It also enables greater flexibility in building multiple platforms on a single machine in quick succession.
While Lynx does not mean that Ursa Major is abandoning its focus on space or hypersonics, it does demonstrate the company’s commitment to providing innovative solutions across various areas of space exploration. According to Laurienti, some lessons learned from both the rigorous qualifications process and streamlined production line required for building SRMs could help further improve the company’s space pursuits.