Space propulsion startup Ursa Major is expanding its product line to include solid rocket motors. The company, which is well-known for its hypersonic technology and rocket engines, announced Lynx, a new approach to producing solid rocket motors more quickly and flexibly than traditional industrial methods.
Laurienti, the founder and CEO of Ursa Major, explained that the company has been looking into solid rocket motors for about two years now and received a demand signal from the Department of Defense (DoD) in summer 2021. The DoD wanted to know what Ursa Major thought about the solid rocket motor space and how it could contribute.
Ursa Major saw a need in the broader industrial base to manufacture more solid rocket motors (SRMs) to equip allies and maintain a large enough US stockpile to deter adversaries, such as China. However, the company approached this challenge differently by building SRMs quickly in a factory that can be easily reconfigured to work on different types of motors.
Lynx is the manufacturing process that Ursa Major is using rather than an individual motor. It will use additive manufacturing to speed up production significantly, allowing for some smaller SRMs to be pumped out at a rate of 1,650 per year with just one 3D printer. This approach boosts flexibility to build multiple platforms from Stinger to Javelin to a man-portable air defense system on a single machine in quick succession.
While Lynx doesn’t mean Ursa Major is done with space or hypersonics, Laurienti said the company will continue to do both. He noted that some lessons learned from both the rigorous qualifications process and streamlined production line required for building SRMs could help the company’s space pursuits.