Ursa Major, a space propulsion startup known for its hypersonic tech and rocket engines, is expanding its offerings to include solid rocket motors. The company announced Lynx, its new approach to producing SRMs quickly and flexibly compared to traditional industrial methods.
“We’ve been looking at the solid rocket motor space for about two years now,” said founder and CEO Joe Laurienti. “We got a demand signal from the Department of Defense in summer 2021. They kind of said, ‘we’ve gotten to know you. You’ve had some great work on the hypersonics and space fronts. What do you think about the solid rocket motor space?'”
Ursa Major saw a need in the broader industrial base for more SRMs to equip allies and maintain a large enough US stockpile to deter adversaries, such as China. The company is approaching this challenge differently by building SRMs quickly in a factory that can be easily reconfigured to work on different types of motors. Lynx is not an individual motor but rather a manufacturing process that uses additive manufacturing to speed up production.
With Lynx, Ursa Major expects to be able to produce 1,650 smaller SRMs per year using a single 3D printer. This represents a significant improvement over traditional production methods and allows for greater flexibility in building multiple platforms from Stinger to Javelin to a man-portable air-defense system on a single machine in quick succession.
Laurienti noted that Lynx does not mean Ursa Major is done with space or hypersonics. The company will continue both pursuits and may even find lessons learned from the rigorous qualifications process and streamlined production line required for building SRMs could help their space endeavors.