Ursa Major, America's privately funded company focused solely on rocket propulsion, announced a contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to advance U.S. hyper sonics defense programs and space launch capabilities. Under the contract, Ursa Major will build and test a prototype of its new Draper engine for hyper sonics, and further develop its 200,000-pound thrust Arroway engine for space launch.
"Ursa Major continues to be an important partner to AFRL as we build hyper sonics capabilities and remove America's dependence on foreign propulsion systems for launch," said Shawn Phillips, Chief of AFRL's Rocket Propulsion Division.
About Draper Engine
The Draper engine is a 4,000-pound-thrust closed-cycle hydrogen peroxide engine designed for hypersonic applications. Because its propellant is storable, the engine can provide rapid-response capabilities. Ursa Major will also build a dedicated test stand for Draper and plans to hotfire the engine within 12 months. The United States faces a gap in hypersonic capabilities, and Draper will help to address this, bearing the storable characteristics of a solid motor but with the higher performance and maneuverability of a liquid engine. Those qualities allow it to better simulate hypersonic threats as a target vehicle.
"Draper will become the foundation of America's counter-hypersonic capabilities," said Joe Laurienti, founder and CEO of Ursa Major. "Its on-demand launch capability and increased maneuverability make it an ideal hypersonic interceptor and allow it to better simulate hypersonic threats as a target vehicle."
Applicable for both space access and hypersonic applications, the Draper engine aligns with AFRL's efforts in enhancing technical capabilities to deliver assets rapidly and effectively to "high-energy orbits" or "military-relevant orbits." Draper's safe handling and storability lead to applications and maturation of responsive launch operations, including point-to-point delivery, quick mission planning, on-orbit servicing, fuel depots, global range and mobility, hypersonic systems, and survivable and responsive launches.
About Arroway Engine
Arroway is a reusable liquid oxygen and methane staged combustion engine for medium and heavy launch vehicles, expected to hotfire in 2025. Introduced in August 2022, Arroway, when clustered together, will be one of very few commercially available American engines capable of supporting the next-generation heavy launch. Ursa Major designs, tests, and manufactures its engines from its state-of-the-art facility in Berthoud, Colorado, using market-leading technology in analysis and simulation, 3D printing, and proprietary alloys. Its customers get to launch many years faster, without the development cost of building engines in-house.
Last August, Ursa Major, and AFRL announced a contract under the U.S. Air Force Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) program to qualify the 5,000-pound thrust, oxygen-rich staged combustion "Hadley" rocket engine for future Department of Defense missions.
Click Here to Learn More About Ursa Major's Draper Engine.
Click Here to Learn More About Ursa Major's Arroway Engine.