Ursa Major entering solid-rocket motor biz, brings 3D printing

By Jason Sherman / November 20, 2023 at 12:05 AM

Ursa Major, a rocket propulsion company focused on space and hypersonic systems, is jumping into the solid-rocket motor sector, offering state-of-the-art manufacturing processes -- including 3D printing -- to help replenish inventories depleted by U.S. donations to Ukraine and Israel.

The Berthoud, CO-based company has bundled what it says is a new approach to solid rocket motor design and manufacturing, branded it “Lynx” in a marketing campaign unveiled today, and claims it will redefine a market “plagued by a broken supply chain and an overextended industrial base.”

“Lynx is taking our experience in 3D printing for small motors . . and giving us the ability to build hundreds or thousands of everything from Stinger up through 22-inch diameter Standard Missile-class motors with one production cell,” Joe Laurienti, Ursa Major founder and chief executive officer, told Inside Defense Nov. 16.

A Lynx “production cell” is the collection of 3D printers and engineers needed to produce any given solid rocket motor.

A January report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found -- among other things -- it could take more than five years to rebuild U.S. inventories of key munitions, including 155mm artillery rounds, Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and more.

“Lynx meets the defense industry’s need for a faster, cheaper, scalable, and flexible SRM production process that results in better-performing solid rocket motors,” Laurienti said in a statement. “We’ve adapted our extensive experience in additive manufacturing, materials development, and propulsion production to the most pressing problems facing the SRM industry. The result is an adaptable manufacturing process that is designed to mass produce multiple systems, rapidly switching from one model to another, producing reliable SRMs quickly and at scale, while leaving room to collaborate across the industry on energetics.”