Ursa Major claims that Hadley is a pioneering oxygen-rich, staged combustion engine. Boasting 5,000 lbf (6,800 Nm) of thrust, it’s smaller than typical rocket engines, but this makes it more affordable for a wider range of applications, including first stage, upper stage, and hypersonic vehicles.
It’s also described as being able to support pre-flight ground testing and static-fire testing, in addition to the flight itself, without requiring modifications.
According to the startup, the U.S. relied on Russia and Ukraine for a significant part of its rocket propulsion systems. On the other hand, building their own engines is an extra burden for American space launch companies or the ones that manufacture hypersonic air vehicles. In this context, Ursa Major steps in with an affordable, reliable, and flexible solution.
Thirty Hadley engines are planned to be delivered this year, and the propulsion expert isn’t stopping there. It’s already working on a more powerful engine, called Ripley, boasting 50,000 lbf (68,000 Nm) of thrust.
Until then, Hadley, which is mostly 3D printed, will demonstrate its efficiency in powering both the Daytona rocket and the Daytona rocket and Stratolaunch’s reusable hypersonic testbed vehicle, designed to reach six times the speed of sound.