Rocket Propulsion Company Ursa Major Extends Partnership With America Makes

Ursa Major and America Makes began their relationship in 2021 with the establishment of the Ursa Major Advanced Manufacturing Lab in Youngstown, OH.

Ursa Major and America Makes began their relationship in 2021 with the establishment of the Ursa Major Advanced Manufacturing Lab in Youngstown, OH.

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


Ursa Major, a privately funded company focused solely on rocket propulsion, has received additional funding from America Makes, an Ohio-based organization that aims to accelerate U.S. manufacturing competitiveness through 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,” says 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.”

“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,” says 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% 3D-printed by mass.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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