Space propulsion startup Ursa Major is expanding its offerings to include solid rocket motors. The company, known for its hypersonic tech and rocket engines, announced Lynx, a new approach to producing SRMs quickly and flexibly than traditional industrial methods.
Ursa Major has been working on the solid rocket motor space for about two years now after receiving a demand signal from the Department of Defense (DoD) in summer 2021. The company saw the need in the broader industrial base to produce more SRMs to equip allies and maintain a large enough US stockpile to deter adversaries, such as China.
The company is taking a different approach by building SRMs quickly in a factory that can be easily reconfigured to work on different types of motors. Lynx is the manufacturing process Ursa Major is using rather than an individual motor. It will use additive manufacturing to speed up production, allowing a single 3D printer to pump out 1,650 motors per year for some smaller SRMs.
Additive manufacturing also boosts flexibility, allowing multiple platforms from Stinger to Javelin to a man-portable air-defense system to be built on a single machine in quick succession. Laurienti said this technology allows them to take a 30-piece, 10-step process down to two or three pieces and four steps.
While Ursa Major’s Lynx initiative doesn’t mean it’s done with space or hypersonics, it does show that the company is diversifying its offerings and expanding into new areas of expertise. The lessons learned from both the rigorous qualifications process and streamlined production line required for building SRMs could help the company’s space pursuits in the future.