Hadley Hotfire TestHadley Hotfire Test

Hadley: Three Variants of a Category-Defining Engine


Ursa Major recently qualified two additional variants of our flagship engine, which is flight-ready for launch, hypersonic flight, and in-space propulsion.

Achieving liftoff takes something different every time, and Ursa Major’s Hadley engine now has three qualified variants built to satisfy America’s commercial and national security space needs. Having one engine that’s suitable for multiple missions means commercial launch providers can get larger payloads to orbit faster and at a lower cost. For America’s military, a single engine that can meet small launch and hypersonic needs is a game-changer in the race to stay ahead of Russia and China.  

First qualified in 2021, Hadley is a 5,000-pound-thrust (lbf) liquid oxygen and kerosene, oxygen-rich staged combustion cycle rocket engine for sea-level launches of small vehicles. Hadley’s first design was the high-performance, low-cost, and adaptable foundation for the continual improvements that advanced manufacturing techniques and an end-user-focused design make possible. Ursa Major is now on the second generation of qualified Hadley engines, featuring even greater levels of performance and reliability.

Hadley engines on the manufacturing floor at Ursa Major’s headquarters.
Hadley engines on the manufacturing floor at Ursa Major’s headquarters.

Hadley’s three qualified variants are the 5,000 lbf sea-level, a 6,500 lbf vacuum variant for use in the upper stages of rockets in the vacuum of space, and a hypersonic version developed with Stratolaunch.

How do we know the Hadley variants will function as designed? Qualification: the process of testing an engine configuration to ensure it is fully vetted and reliable for flight. We wouldn’t fly without it.

A qualification campaign tests engine life, operating space, functional requirements, and verifies performance. Engine life tests demonstrate that it has the necessary structural, fatigue, and wear margins. Operating space ensures Hadley can operate safely within target ranges for power level, mixture ratio, and propellant inlet conditions, even under the most stressful combinations of those factors. Finally, the qualification process verifies that the engine meets our customer requirements and can deliver the capabilities the mission requires.  

We founded Ursa Major to make those missions possible. From affordably launching small commercial and national security satellites into orbit to reclaiming global leadership in hypersonics, Hadley variants make reliably achieving those missions safer, faster, and more affordable.

Hadley engines in crates at Ursa Major's headquarters.
Hadley engines in crates at Ursa Major's headquarters.

Ursa Major Staff - Launch-Ready Propulsion for every sector of aerospace

Seeing aerospace advancement as a technological imperative, we're accelerating the industry as the leading source of world-class propulsion systems.


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