Propulsion Start-Up Aims for Large-Rocket Market
By Micah Maideberg
Propulsion start-up Ursa Major Technologies Inc. said it is
developing an engine meant to power larger rockets, betting the
hardware will find a customer base amid a shifting market for such
Ursa said Thursday it expects to begin so-called hot-fire tests
of the engine, called Arroway, next year and start deliveries in
2025. The company has also been working on two smaller engines.
The propulsion market was shaken up earlier this year when
Russian officials said they would halt sales of two Russian engines
to American companies. United Launch Alliance, owned by Boeing Co.
and Lockheed Martin Corp., uses the Russian-made RD-180 on its
Atlas V vehicle, while Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Antares rocket
relies on the RD-181 engine for National Aeronautics and Space
Administration cargo missions.
United Launch has said it has enough Russian engines for current
customers. Northrop executives have said the company has enough of
the hardware in hand to fulfill its NASA cargo contract.
Ursa Major said the Arroway engines, when clustered together on
a booster, would be able to replace both types of Russian motors.
In a statement, the company didn't disclose any customers for the
forthcoming engine, but said it was expected to serve markets tied
to commercial-satellite launches and national security, among
Other space companies are also developing engines to sell to
Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin LLC has been working on its BE-4 motors
to blast the first stage of a forthcoming United Launch vehicle
called Vulcan Centaur into orbit, and also plans to use those
engines on its own New Glenn rocket. Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings
Inc. has also developed engines for larger vehicles.
Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp., by contrast,
is among the launchers that build rocket engines in house.
Founded in 2015, privately held Ursa Major said in December it
raised $85 million in fresh funding. The company has said it is
solely focused on developing and selling rocket propulsion
"Propulsion is really the barrier to entry," Chief Executive Joe
Laurienti, a former SpaceX and Blue Origin engineer, said in an
interview earlier this spring.
Write to Micah Maidenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 02, 2022 11:24 ET (15:24 GMT)
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