Prototype Hypersonic Defense Engine
Ursa Major has signed a new contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to advance U.S. hypersonic defense programs and space launch capabilities. Under the contract, Ursa Major will build and test a prototype of its new Draper engine for hypersonic, and further develop its 200,000-pound thrust Arroway engine for space launch.
Draper is a storable, 4,000-pound-thrust closed catalyst cycle engine that uses storable hydrogen-peroxide/kerosene propellant, making it ideal for small hypersonic defense vehicles that need to launch on demand, according to Ursa Major. Solid rocket motors have traditionally powered the vehicles used for testing missile defense systems, but they cannot change thrust in real-time to actively throttle and respond to changing conditions.
With adversarial hypersonic weapons becoming increasingly complex and erratic, a liquid rocket engine such as Draper provides active throttle control and throttle range, giving it the maneuverability and flexibility needed for hypersonic defense.
“Ursa Major continues to be an important partner to AFRL as we build hypersonics capabilities and remove America’s dependence on foreign propulsion systems for launch,” said Shawn Phillips, Chief of AFRL’s Rocket Propulsion Division.