Ursa Major and America Makes have agreed to further their partnership in the development of 3D printed rocket propulsion technology.

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Title: Revolutionizing Rocket Propulsion: Ursa Major Leads the Way in Additive Manufacturing

Date: August 2, 2023

In recent years, Youngstown, Ohio has witnessed an incredible transformation in its local ecosystem, all thanks to the remarkable contributions of Ursa Major. This privately funded company, specializing in rocket propulsion, has emerged as a game-changer in the industry. Today, we are excited to announce that Ursa Major has secured additional funding from America Makes, further solidifying its position as a key player in the field.

Ursa Major’s alliance with America Makes began back in 2021 when they established the Ursa Major Advanced Manufacturing Lab. This state-of-the-art facility played a pivotal role in introducing a breakthrough 3D printing capability for NASA-developed copper-chrome-niobium alloy GrCop42. Utilizing their cutting-edge large-scale 3D printer, Ursa Major successfully created prototype thrust chambers for the vacuum variant of the Hadley liquid rocket engine.

This partnership between Ursa Major and America Makes is set to continue through mid-2024, marking a significant milestone in the advancement of additive manufacturing capabilities. The focus will now shift from printing prototypes to producing production-grade and engine qualification hardware. By adopting this approach, Ursa Major aims to expedite engine production timelines, ensuring faster delivery for their clients.

Brad Appel, Chief Technology Officer at Ursa Major, emphasized the critical role played by the Advanced Manufacturing Lab, stating, “Our Advanced Manufacturing Lab is crucial to Ursa Major’s additive manufacturing capabilities, which significantly accelerate engine production timelines. Leveraging the resources available to us in Youngstown, we can now reduce the production and delivery cycle for combustion chambers from six months to just one month.”

John Wilczynski, Executive Director of America Makes, expressed his excitement about the partnership, stating, “Ursa Major has been a great addition to our Youngstown ecosystem. We are thrilled to continue collaborating to improve the efficiency and lead time reduction of defense industrial base relevant parts.”

The success of Ursa Major’s additive manufacturing capabilities can be attributed to the utilization of GRCop-42, a NASA-developed alloy known for its high thermal conductivity and strength. This alloy is specifically designed for high-heat applications, making it ideal for liquid rocket engine combustion devices.

Ursa Major leverages the power of 3D printing to rapidly produce rocket engines and implement real-time improvements based on rigorous testing. In fact, over 80% of their rocket engines are now 3D printed by mass, marking a significant shift in manufacturing practices within the industry.

The team at TCT was fortunate to engage in a conversation with Ursa Major back in 2022 when they first introduced their copper 3D printed rocket engine parts. They continue to push boundaries and drive innovation within the rocket propulsion industry.

As we witness this remarkable journey of Ursa Major, it is evident that their commitment to additive manufacturing brings about revolutionary advancements in rocket propulsion technology. With Youngstown serving as the epicenter of their operations, the city and its ecosystem are set to thrive, attracting more partnerships and investments.

To learn more or join in on the conversation, be sure to connect with the TCT Additive Manufacturing Network. Additionally, you can secure your free print subscription to TCT Magazine or explore opportunities to exhibit at TCT 3Sixty, the UK’s most influential 3D printing and additive manufacturing event.

Ursa Major’s relentless pursuit of excellence is shaping the future of rocket propulsion, and we eagerly anticipate the incredible milestones that lie ahead.

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