Hundreds of rocket engines developed by startup company Ursa Major will go to Phantom Space in the next few years, as part of a wider order that reflects Phantom’s bold position in the small opening market.
“We set the order based on the distance we can see from demand, and we see demand growing stronger and stronger,” Phantom founder Jim Cantrell told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “We are investing in the production of a small number of products and they are both more expensive and, ultimately, the most cost-effective way to get small satellites.”
Phantom has ordered more than 200 engines from Colorado-based Ursa, the largest single-month demand to date. Ursa has developed two engines: the Hadley, which has 5,000 pounds of pressure, and the larger Ripley, which can generate 50,000 pounds of pressure. Phantom has purchased two types of engines for the two types of missiles being developed, the Daytona and Laguna. If all goes well, Phantom expects the first batch of these engines to fly early next year, with the first test flight of a small lift, both at Daytona.
Cantrell founded and was the CEO of Vector, a small company that started in 2019. Cantrell broke up the company shortly before moving on to Chapter 11 of the series; That same year, he co-founded Phantom Michael D’Angelo and Michal Prywata.
The three founders “looked around for who could supply the machines or if we could build them ourselves,” Cantrell explained. “We quickly came to the conclusion that making ourselves might be attractive from an intellectual property point of view, but that’s five years and $ 50 million, that’s what I value to be, I have to add time. , and time. We have to take it. “
Both Phantom and Ursa represent a different approach to the open market, one that relies heavily on stable supply chains, large-scale production and a smoother ecosystem rather than the direct integration typically found in the aerospace industry. Joe Laurienti, founder of Ursa 2015, has previously worked on the launch of both SpaceX and Blue Origin – two powerful examples of “New Space” in the form of direct interaction between Ursa and Phantom eschew.
Ursa is on track to bring in 30 engines this year. Laurienti said the company’s focus this year and next is to ensure reliability and performance as it balances production to meet these customer orders.
“We want to make sure we don’t just send the engines to the Phantom team in Arizona and dust off our hands and head back to Colorado,” he added. “A lot of what we have to focus on is the integration and review of the data so that this is really a sustainable partnership, not just the seller-customer relationship.”
Phantom has already received the first batch of Hadleys. It is these engines that will be incorporated into Daytona to test New Mexico’s hot fires this summer. Daytona is designed to lift 450 kilograms to land on Earth; Its older reusable sister, Laguna, will be able to carry 1,200 kilograms of weight to the LEO. The first version of Daytona will use 9 Hadley engines, although Phantom is already planning an upgrade to increase its future versatility with only one Ripley. Laguna will be operated by a combination of Hadley and Ripleys, the company said.