Ursa Major has expanded its 3D Printing Partnership with America Makes

3 Mins read
Ursa Major has expanded its 3D printing Partnership with America Makes

Rocket propulsion firm Ursa Major extends partnership/ Source: Cleveland Business

Additive manufacturing (AM) relationship between Denver-based Ursa Major and Youngstown, Ohio’s America Makes, the Manufacturing USA institution, has been extended. Ursa Major and America Makes joined together in 2021 to open the Ursa Major Advanced Manufacturing Lab at the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI), with financing of $3 million from the federal government.

Ursa Major and America Makes have renewed their partnership, continuing their work until the middle of 2024 and bringing in further money from the Manufacturing USA initiative. Prototype thrust chambers for the company’s Hadley liquid rocket engine were printed using the EOS M400 PBF platform in July 2022. These chambers were built from the NASA-developed copper-chromium-niobium alloy, GRCop-42.

The continuation of the collaboration will allow Ursa Major to build upon its established base by printing manufacturing components and engine qualification hardware. Ursa Major claims that more than 80% of the weight of its rocket engines comes from 3D printing.

About the Expansion of Ursa Major

Brad Appel, CTO of Ursa Major, was quoted as saying, “Our Advanced Manufacturing Lab is critical to Ursa Major’s [AM] capabilities, which accelerate engine production timelines,” in a news statement announcing the company’s continued cooperation with America Makes. We have the capability in Youngstown to cut the six-month delivery time for combustion chambers to one month.

Ursa Major has expanded its 3D printing Partnership with America Makes

Ursa Major extends partnership with America Makes for 3D printed rocket propulsion technology/ Source: TCT Magazine

“Ursa Major has been a great addition to our Youngstown ecosystem,” said John Wilczynski, executive director of America Makes. We look forward to furthering our work together to increase part producibility and decrease lead times for the defence industrial base.

Now that the Biden administration has released its executive order on federally financed R&D and domestic manufacturing, partnerships like the one between Ursa Major and America Makes are more important than ever. This shift from prototype to manufacturing, and eventually the commercialization of intellectual property realised through federal funding, is a key goal of the presidential order.

Also read: Myanmar Rebels Use 3D-Printed Guns in Their War

The latest policy from the Biden administration, and the United States government’s recent efforts in advanced manufacturing more generally, aim to make it easier for companies to share their R&D gains with the rest of the federal ecosystem while protecting their own commercial advantages. Keeping the cooperation strong would help not just Ursa Major and America Makes, but also the advancement of AM-driven space gear production and the quickening of new standards for US domestic manufacturing in general.

Manufacturing for space is becoming increasingly important not just for the delivery of finished products, but also to hasten the establishment of commercial standards. Due to the rapid privatisation of even this sector in recent years, public-private partnerships will become increasingly important to ensure that the best data promptly reaches the broadest relevant audience. Space is one of the few remaining domains where pure research applications are solely prioritised. Ursa Major is innovating on numerous fronts at once, representing a fundamentally new manner of conducting business in the United States.

Ursa Major Technologies is a United States-based aerospace firm with its headquarters in Berthoud, Colorado. The company was established in 2015. The United States Government as well as private space launch and hypersonics firms purchase rocket engines from the company that manufactures them.

The Hadley engine, which is manufactured by this business and takes its name from a character in Ray Bradbury’s novel The Veldt, has a thrust of 5,000 pounds and runs on kerosene and liquid oxygen. In addition to this, it creates the Ripley engine, which has a thrust of 50,000 pounds and is designed for the medium-launch market.

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