Ursa Major, privately funded company focused on rocket propulsion, has announced it has received additional funding from America Makes. The company began its relationship with America Makes in 2021 with the establishment of the Ursa Major Advanced Manufacturing Lab in Youngstown, Ohio.
The lab created a 3D printing capability for NASA-developed copper-chrome-niobium alloy GrCop42, with Ursa Major’s first large-scale 3D printer, and produced prototype thrust chambers for the vacuum variant of the Hadley liquid rocket engine.
Under a new agreement, Ursa Major and America Makes will continue their partnership through mid-2024 and transition from printing prototypes to printing production and engine qualification hardware.
“Our Advanced Manufacturing Lab is critical to Ursa Major’s additive manufacturing capabilities, which accelerate engine production timelines,” said Brad Appel, Chief Technology Officer at Ursa Major. “With our resources in Youngstown, we can reduce the production and delivery cycle for combustion chambers from six months to one month.”
John Wilczynski, Executive Director of America Makes added: “Ursa Major has been a great addition to our Youngstown ecosystem. We are excited to continue our collaboration on improving producibility and lead time reduction of defence industrial base relevant parts.”
GRCop-42, part of a family of NASA-developed alloys, is used in high-heat applications such as liquid rocket engine combustion devices because its high conductivity and strength. Ursa Major says that 3D printing allows it to speed up engine production and apply improvements gleaned from testing in real time.
Ursa Major says that its rocket engines are more than 80% 3D printed by mass.
TCT spoke to Ursa Major in 2022 about its first copper 3D printed rocket engine parts.