Space propulsion startup Ursa Major is expanding into the solid rocket motor game with its new manufacturing process, Lynx. The company, which is best known for its hypersonic tech and rocket engines, announced Lynx as a way to produce solid rocket motors quicker and more flexibly than the traditional industrial base.
Ursa Major has been looking at solid rocket motors for about two years now and received a demand signal from DoD in summer 2021. The need in the broader industrial base was to be able to manufacture more solid rocket motors, or SRMs, to equip allies and maintain a large enough US stockpile to deter adversaries such as China.
Laurienti said that Ursa Major is approaching this in a different way by building SRMs quickly in a factory that can be easily reconfigured to work on different types of motors. Lynx is the manufacturing process being used rather than an individual motor. It will use additive manufacturing to speed up production and boost flexibility to build multiple platforms from Stinger, Javelin, and a man-portable air-defense system on a single machine in quick succession.
This new process allows for faster production of smaller SRMs with just one 3D printer pumping out 1650 motors per year. Additive manufacturing also enables quicker production times and greater flexibility compared to traditional methods of manufacturing SRMs.
However, Laurienti emphasized that this does not mean Ursa Major is done with space or hypersonics. He stated that the company will continue to do both and even noted that some lessons learned on both the rigorous qualifications process and streamlined production line required for building SRMs could help the company’s space pursuits.