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 Monday 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.

“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,” said Ursa Major founder and CEO Joe Laurienti.

“Hypersonic flight has been a massive military and governmental challenge. Today, private companies were able to propel a leap forward.”

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 US Defense Department to field new mission solutions more quickly and push performance metrics of speed, range, and payload.

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.
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