Ursa Major Unveils Arroway

Render of Ursa Major's Arroway heavy-launch engine.

Render of Ursa Major’s Arroway heavy-launch engine. Image: Ursa Major.

Ursa Major has unveiled its engine for heavy launch vehicles. The Colorado startup is calling its latest propulsion product Arroway, a nod to Dr. Ellie Arroway, Jodie Foster’s character in Contact.

Arroway specs: 200,000-pound thrust, liquid oxygen and methane staged combustion, mostly 3D printed, and reusable. 

  • Timeline: Arroway is available to order now. Ursa Major is targeting initial hotfire tests in 2023 and engine deliveries in 2025. 
  • Engine family: Ursa Major also offers Hadley, an oxygen-rich staged combustion engine with 5,000 pounds of thrust. Ripley, the startup’s second product, is 10X more powerful.
  • Plugging market gaps: In a previous interview with Payload, Ursa Major CEO Joe Laurienti estimated that Russia’s war against Ukraine created $2.1–$2.4B of “immediate market vacuum” in launch. 

“Arroway engines will be one of very few commercially available engines that, when clustered together, can displace the Russian-made RD-180 and RD-181, which are no longer available to US launch companies,” Ursa Major wrote in today’s announcement.

The startup’s strategy: As we wrote in April, “Ursa Major wants to turn the industry playbook of vertical integration on its head. Rather than build all or most of a vehicle, this horizontal integration evangelist is heads-down making liquid rocket engines for three verticals: 1) space launch, 2) on-orbit propulsion, and 3) hypersonics.”

+ Sneak peek: “I think we need a thriving rocket engine industry and we need more than one company that sells rocket engines,” former Blue Origin president Rob Meyerson says in next week’s edition of Pathfinder. “And I think that’s why Ursa Major is bound for good things.”