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Ursa Major Hadley Engine Flies for the First Time Powering Stratolaunch’s Talon-A1

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Ursa Major Hadley Engine Flies for the First Time Powering Stratolaunch’s Talon-A1

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Stratolaunch’s Talon-A1 prepares for flight powered by Ursa Major’s Hadley engine.
Stratolaunch’s Talon-A1 prepares for flight powered by Ursa Major’s Hadley engine.

Ursa Major’s Hadley engine, a purpose-built engine to satisfy America’s commercial and national security space needs, flew for the first time powering Stratolaunch’s Talon-A1 (TA-1) testbed during a test over the Pacific Ocean. The test, which reached high supersonic speeds approaching Mach 5, marks the first step toward flight of a hypersonic vehicle developed by a private company. The flight test marks a major milestone for Ursa Major, who designed, built, and flew Hadley in less than a decade. Hadley and Ursa Major’s other products enable the U.S. Defense Department to field new mission solutions more quickly and push performance metrics of speed, range, and payload.

“For the first time since SpaceX fundamentally transformed space launch with privately developed rockets, Ursa Major and Stratolaunch have come together to advance a critical national mission. Hypersonic flight has been a massive military and governmental challenge. Today, private companies were able to propel a leap forward,” said Ursa Major founder and CEO Joe Laurienti.

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Stratolaunch Celebrates First Powered Flight of TA-1 Test Vehicle
Stratolaunch’s Roc air launch platform takes off from Mojave Air and Space Port at Rutan Field on March 9, 2024. This was the fourteenth flight for the aircraft, and the second in which it launched a Talon vehicle from its center-wing pylon. (Photo by Stratolaunch)

Hadley is a 5,000-pound-thrust (lbf) liquid oxygen and kerosene, oxygen-rich staged combustion cycle rocket engine for small vehicles. Customers can use Hadley to launch small payloads into orbit or hypersonic platforms. Ursa Major has sold dozens of Hadley engines to customers that will enable space launch, hypersonics, and in-space missions. Unlike historical rocket engines, Ursa Major uses 3D printing to speed up the manufacturing process, allowing the company to build engines in a matter of days. Hadley is the first product in a family of propulsion systems, including liquid rocket engines and solid rocket motors, being designed, developed, and produced by Ursa Major.

Ursa Major is the leading independent rocket propulsion provider and a critical player in building the defense industrial base in the United States. As the first American company to fire an oxygen-rich staged combustion engine—a milestone previously only achieved by Russian engine-makers—Ursa Major provides reusable, high-performing propulsion systems to commercial space enterprises, defense contractors, and the Department of Defense for launch, hypersonics, and national security missions. The company employs the country’s leading propulsion experts at its one-of-a-kind headquarters in Berthoud, Colorado, which houses engineering, manufacturing, and test operations all in one campus.

Stratolaunch’s Talon-A stands ready at sunrise for its first powered flight on March 9, 2024. (Photo by Stratolaunch)

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