Tag Archives: rocket engines

Company aims to sell its rocket engines to smallsat rocket companies

Capitalism in space: The new rocket engine manufacturer Ursa Major is aiming to sell its rocket engines to the new wave of smallsat rocket companies now emerging.

Ursa Major has taken up the challenge of trying to convince launch startups to outsource their engines rather than follow the models of SpaceX and Blue Origin. “The first gut response is ‘our engines are special and we don’t have a company without our engines,’ but if there is a way to increase their margin by flying someone else’s engines, most companies will be interested in coming around,” Ursa Major founder and CEO Joe Laurienti says.

Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit and Vector Space Systems — three frontrunners fielding dedicated smallsat launchers — are building engines in house. Currently, just two launch startups — Generation Orbit and ABL Space Systems — have gone public with plans to depend on Laurienti’s 26-person team in Berthoud, Colorado, to supply the engines for the satellite launchers they’re developing.

That we now have companies that have successfully raised investment capital for both building rocket engines in-house for their own rockets as well buying them from independent subcontractors is firm proof that the upcoming boom in smallsat rockets is real, and very robust. The 20s should be a very exciting decade for rocketry.

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Russia reiterates that it has no intention to stop selling the U.S. its rocket engines

Russia officials today repeated that they will continue to sell Russian rocket engines to American companies, despite the sanctions imposed on their country because of the Ukrainian situation.

Meanwhile, there’s this story about the budget squeeze in the U.S. that makes it difficult to produce an American-made engine for the Atlas 5 rocket.

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American manned space: dependent on the Russians in more ways than you think

American manned space: dependent on the Russians in more ways than you think.

As commentators from around the country gnash their teeth at U.S. dependence upon Russia to move cargo and astronauts to the mostly U.S. built/funded International Space Station (ISS), they’ve missed the bigger boat: With one exception, all the commercial spaceflight offerings currently in the works have Soviet or Russian engines as a key part of the rockets involved.

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