Ursa Major, a space propulsion startup known for its hypersonic tech and rocket engines, is expanding into the solid rocket motor game. The company announced Lynx, its new approach to producing solid rocket motors (SRMs) more quickly and flexibly than traditional industrial methods.
Laurienti, the founder and CEO of Ursa Major, explained that the company had been looking at SRMs for about two years before receiving 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 and wanted to know if the company was interested in the solid rocket motor space.
Ursa Major saw a need in the broader industrial base to be able to manufacture more SRMs, which would allow allies to be equipped and maintain a large enough US stockpile to deter adversaries such as China. However, Ursa Major is approaching this 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 and boost flexibility to build multiple platforms from Stinger to Javelin on a single machine in quick succession.
Additive manufacturing allows for rapid prototyping, reducing production time significantly while also allowing for greater design freedom and customization. Laurienti stated that 3D printing allows them to take a 30-piece, 10-step process down to two or three pieces and four steps. This technology enables them to produce more SRMs quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality or accuracy.
Laurienti also emphasized that Lynx doesn’t mean Ursa Major is done with space or hypersonics. The company plans to continue working on both fronts while leveraging lessons learned from both the rigorous qualifications process and streamlined production line required for building SRMs could help their space pursuits.