Copper chamber on a Hadley engineCopper chamber on a Hadley engine

Leading U.S. Rocket Propulsion Company Ursa Major Extends Partnership with America Makes for Advanced Engine Technology

|Press Release

DENVER - August 2, 2023 - Ursa Major, America's leading privately funded company focused solely on rocket propulsion, announced it received additional funding from America Makes, an Ohio-based organization that aims to accelerate U.S. manufacturing competitiveness through the adoption of additive manufacturing (AM).

Ursa Major and America Makes began their relationship in 2021 with the establishment of the Ursa Major Advanced Manufacturing Lab in Youngstown, Ohio. The Lab created an AM capability for NASA-developed copper-chrome-niobium alloy GrCop-42, 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, including combustion chambers for the vacuum variant of Ursa Major’s Hadley liquid rocket engine.

“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.”

Hotfiring of a Hadley engine with a copper chamber printed at Ursa Major's Advanced Manufacturing Lab.
Hotfiring of a Hadley engine with a copper chamber printed at Ursa Major's Advanced Manufacturing Lab.

“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 defense industrial base relevant parts,” said John Wilczynski, Executive Director of America Makes.

GRCop-42, part of a family of NASA-developed alloys, is used in high-heat applications such as liquid rocket engine combustion devices because of its high conductivity and strength. AM, or 3D printing, allows Ursa Major to speed up engine production and apply improvements gleaned from testing in real time, which results in lower costs. Ursa Major’s rocket engines are more than 80 percent 3D-printed by mass.

About Ursa Major

Ursa Major is the leading independent rocket propulsion provider and a critical player in building the defense industrial base in the United States. As the first American company to fire an oxygen-rich staged combustion engine—a milestone previously only achieved by Russian engine-makers—Ursa Major provides reusable, high-performing propulsion systems to commercial space enterprises, defense contractors, and the Department of Defense for launch, hypersonics, and national security missions. The company employs the country’s leading propulsion experts at its one-of-a-kind headquarters in Berthoud, Colorado, which houses engineering, manufacturing, and test all in one campus. Manufactured using 3D printing for scalable production, Ursa Major propulsion systems save customers an average of five years and $50 million compared to building propulsion in-house. 

About America Makes

America Makes is the nation’s leading public-private partnership for additive manufacturing (AM) technology and education. America Makes members from industry, academia, government, workforce, and economic development organizations, work together to accelerate the adoption of AM and the nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness. Founded in 2012 as the Department of Defense’s national manufacturing innovation institute for AM and first of the Manufacturing USA network, America Makes is based in Youngstown, Ohio, and managed by the not-for-profit National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).

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Media Contacts

Ursa Major

America Makes


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