Air Force Awards Contract for Flight-Ready Rocket Engine

The company hopes to lower costs by using advanced manufacturing like 3D printing.

Tacfi Release Hero Image Hadley

Ursa Major announced a contract under the U.S. Air Force Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) program, under which it will provide a flight-qualified 5,000-pound thrust, oxygen-rich staged combustion "Hadley" rocket engine, suited for both the booster and upper-stage phases of launch for satellites into low-earth orbit.

While more challenging to engineer than other systems, oxygen-rich staged combustion (ORSC) is more efficient for better engine performance and is the architecture preferred by the world's advanced space programs. This effort continues to build upon past investments into ORSC technology by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to provide ORSC systems to the nation.

Hadley was developed by Ursa Major's team of propulsion experts to deliver performance, flexibility and reliability at a lower cost by using advanced manufacturing like 3D printing.

Hadley features active throttle, active thrust vector control, and a configurable fuel mixture ratio. It is qualified for operation in flight at various power levels and capable of continuously throttling from minimum to nominal flight power levels. Ursa Major has already delivered numerous Hadley engines to customers from its uniquely integrated 90-acre Colorado facility, which houses its engineering, manufacturing, and testing functions on a single property.

As part of the AFRL contract deliverables, Ursa Major will also be providing the Air Force Research Lab with statistically significant data sets from extensive testing of multiple Hadley engines, including measurements of specific impulse, or ISP, combustion stability, vibration and shock profiles, and range of inlet pressures and temperatures.

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