Space propulsion startup Ursa Major has recently entered the solid rocket motor game. The company, known for its hypersonic tech and rocket engines, announced Lynx, its new approach to producing solid rocket motors more quickly and flexibly than traditional industrial bases.
Ursa Major’s founder and CEO Joe Laurienti explained that the company had been looking into solid rocket motors for about two years when they received a demand signal from the Department of Defense (DoD) in summer 2021. The DoD expressed interest in Ursa Major’s work on hypersonics and space technology and asked if the company had any thoughts on the solid rocket motor space.
Laurienti explained that Ursa Major saw a need in the broader industrial base to manufacture more solid rocket motors, or SRMs, to equip allies and maintain a large enough US stockpile to deter adversaries such as China. To address this need, Ursa Major is taking a different approach by building SRMs quickly in a factory that can be easily reconfigured to work on different types of motors.
The manufacturing process Ursa Major is using is called Lynx. It uses additive manufacturing to speed up production so that for some smaller SRMs, a single 3D printer will be able to pump out 1,650 motors per year. Additive manufacturing also boosts flexibility to build multiple platforms from Stinger to Javelin to a man-portable air-defense system on a single machine in quick succession.
Laurienti emphasized that Lynx doesn’t mean Ursa Major is done with space or hypersonics. He said the company will continue to do both and even noted that some lessons learned on both the rigorous qualifications process and streamlined production line required for building SRMs could help the company’s space pursuits.