Home Applications & Case Studies Ursa Major announces the delivery of “Hadley” engines qualified for hypersonics and...

Ursa Major announces the delivery of “Hadley” engines qualified for hypersonics and space launch

Ursa Major announced the delivery of “Hadley” engines to two different customers for different applications. Hadley is the first engine in history to be qualified for both hypersonics and space launch.

Hadley is an oxygen-rich staged combustion engine, the type of system preferred by the world’s most advanced space programs. The engine is now in full production, with 30 expected to be delivered this year.

Much of the rocket propulsion in the U.S. has previously come from Russia or Ukraine, and Russia recently announced that it would no longer sell its engines to the U.S.

Joe Laurienti, founder and CEO of Ursa Major said: “Delivering Hadley engines to customers who will use them for very different purposes shows the Ursa Major business model in action—higher performing engines, more of them, delivered quickly at less than half the cost. By freeing launch companies from the expense and difficulty of building their own engines or buying sub-par technology from other countries, Ursa Major will accelerate the number and frequency of successful launches across sectors.”

Space Entrepreneurship is Growing

Phantom Space, a space technology and transportation company, will use Hadley to power its two-stage expendable rocket, which transports satellites and other space cargo into Earth orbit and beyond.

Stratolaunch, an aerospace vehicles and technology company, will use Hadley to power its reusable hypersonic testbed vehicle, which is designed to reach Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound.

As America’s only pure-play rocket propulsion company, Ursa Major are changing the landscape of the space industry. By making flexible rocket engines that can be used for multiple purposes, we help customers get to launch three times faster at a low price and without the development cost of building engines in-house. By supporting other aerospace startups, they are helping to shape the modern space economy with entrepreneurial thinking and innovation.

Senior test operations engineer Silas Meriam said about Hadley: “Hadley’s greatest strength is that she simply exists,” (…) “No one else is making engines with 5,000 pounds of thrust at this level of reliability—and they’re available now.”

Hadley Engine Offers Multiple Benefits

Because Hadley is mostly 3D-printed, the company can make data-driven design improvements and manufacture them essentially in real-time.


  • Can be used in first stage, upper stage, and hypersonic applications
  • More than 30,000 seconds of run-time at their facilities
  • Sufficient engine life to support pre-flight ground testing or static-fire testing, as well as flight, without additional modifications or inspections
  • Wide range of customizable throttle levels and thrust profiles to meet customer needs
  • Seven-degree thrust vectoring provides more control and manoeuvrability for typical flights, and may also enable vertical landing and return-to-launch-site burns, among other capabilities

The commercial availability of the company’s engines allows customers to develop flying hypersonic testbeds, which minimizes the need for large, expensive, and notoriously scarce wind tunnels.

Without the testing bottleneck created by wind tunnels, hypersonics companies can conduct more tests and generate more data, which significantly accelerates the development process and fuels innovation. Not to mention that this test data is more representative of the actual flight environment and less expensive than ground-based wind tunnel testing. The result is higher performing, more reliable hypersonics technology, produced quickly and efficiently at a lower cost.

Joe continued, “Ursa Major and its peers are driving significant advancements in many sectors across the new space economy. Our propulsion systems and proprietary testing platform are already empowering Ursa Major commercial customers to reach their goals. We stand ready to support our government’s efforts to reestablish U.S. global leadership in space technology as well.”

Read more about Hadley and other Ursa Major engines here.

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