US rocket propulsion company Ursa Major announces new engine to displace now unavailable Russian-made propulsion sources

Available to order now, “Arwaya” is a 200,000 pound thrust liquid oxygen and methane reusable combustion engine for medium and heavy launch

DENVER , June 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — the Great Bear, the only privately funded US company focused solely on rocket propulsion, today introduced the latest in its engine lineup. Arroway is a 200,000 pound thrust liquid oxygen and methane staged combustion engine that will serve markets such as current US national security missions, commercial satellite launches, orbital space stations and future missions not yet designed. The Arroway reusable engine is available to order now, with first hot tests scheduled for 2023 and delivery in 2025.

“Arroway is America’s rocket engine of the future,” said Joe Laurienti, founder and CEO of Ursa Major.

Notably, the Arroway engines will be one of the very few commercially available engines that, when bundled together, can replace the Russian-made RD-180 and RD-181, which are no longer available to US launch companies. .

“Arroway is America’s engine of the future,” said Joe Laurienti, founder and CEO of Ursa Major. “Medium and heavy launch capability is what American launch vehicles desperately need right now, and because Ursa Major is focused solely on propulsion, we are in a unique position to provide high performance, reliable and affordable engines for meet growing market demand, just as we do with ‘Hadley’ and ‘Ripley’.”

Arroway uses a fuel-rich staged combustion architecture with liquid oxygen and methane-based propellants. Ursa Major designed the components and their layout so that most of the engine could be 3D printed. This approach allows for rapid iteration during the development process as well as efficient scaling of production to meet market demand.

Advantages of Liquid Methane Fuel

  • Cleaner, more efficient and cheaper than kerosene
  • Offers flexible architecture options to maximize reuse
  • Increased market adoption in the launch industry

Benefits of Fuel-Rich Staged Combustion Architecture

  • High performance on specific impulse and thrust-to-weight ratio
  • Suitable for high reliability in mass production, long reusable life and multiple applications
  • Leverages Ursa Major’s experience in closed-cycle technology and provides extensibility for future propellant derivatives

Other Ursa Major engines include “Hadley”, a 5,000 pound thrust, oxygen rich staged combustion engine, and the 50,000 pound thrust “Ripley” engine. Hadley was the first American-made oxygen-rich staged combustion engine to be hot-fire tested.

“Arroway is the rocket engine the industry needs, and Ursa Major is the right company to build it,” said Jeff Thornburg, former director of propulsion at SpaceX and adviser to Ursa Major. “Launch organizations need to consider whether they have the experience, expertise, time, money, test facilities and organizational courage to build their own engines. Ursa Major has demonstrated all of this, and the result is a faster and more robust product.The growing space industry is just beginning to understand how difficult propulsion development can be and how long it really takes to qualify hardware in-house, which presents an incredible opportunity for Arroway to serve the industry.

No need to build in-house

With Ursa Major’s experience in manufacturing flexible rocket engines that can be used for a range of missions, from air launch to hypersonic flight, to in-orbit missions with numerous restarts, its customers can launch multiple years faster at low cost and without the cost of developing in-house build engines.

Ursa Major’s propulsion engineering team has over 1,000 years of experience in propulsion development and thousands of successful flights. It includes global experts in combustors, engine cycles, and turbomachinery from top US launch companies and US engine development programs. The company has built and tested more than 50 staged-combustion rocket engines to date and will deliver 24 by the end of the year.

Ursa Major designs, tests and manufactures its engines at its state-of-the-art facility in Burgdorf, Colorado using cutting-edge technology in analysis and simulation, 3D printing and proprietary alloys. To date, Ursa Major engines have accumulated 36,000 seconds of endurance, far more than a typical engine is tested before first flight.

Connect with Ursa Major on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About the Big Dipper

Ursa Major is the only privately funded U.S. company focused solely on rocket propulsion, bringing to market high-performance staged combustion engines for space launch and hypersonic applications. Ursa Major customers, ranging from “New Space” startups to enterprise-level aerospace leaders and the US government, can launch faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively. The company employs the most sought-after engineers from top space programs and universities and is backed by world-class investors including XN and Explorer 1 Fund. Based in Burgdorf, Colorado, Ursa Major has been named one of the best places to work by Built in Colorado two years in a row. For more information, visit

Media Contact:Jani Strand, General PartnerPerch Partners for Ursa Major[email protected]310.289.3515

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SOURCEUrsa Major

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