Rocket Fuel Startup Lands $800K in Funding

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A test fire by Adranos of its high-performance, solid propellant for long-range missile and space launch systems. (photo courtesy of Adranos) A test fire by Adranos of its high-performance, solid propellant for long-range missile and space launch systems. (photo courtesy of Adranos)

West Lafayette-based Adranos Inc. has raised additional funding to further the development of its rocket fuel technology. The company says the $800,000 will fund additional testing of its ALITEC propellant, which the Purdue-affiliated company says is more powerful and more environmentally friendly.

Purdue says ALITEC uses an aluminum, lithium alloy which creates more thrust and is less corrosive than traditional solid propellants. Adranos says the rocket fuel, which could be used by the U.S. military, NASA and other Department of Defense agencies, would dramatically increase the range of a missile and also reduce the missile's smoke signature, making it more difficult to detect.

The majority of the funding was provided by Archibald Cox Jr., chairman of private investment firm Sextant Group Inc., who has also joined the Adranos board of directors. The remaining amount, about $200,000, comes from Utah's USTAR TAP program, which supports private-sector technology development.

Purdue says Adranos will use the funding to perform static test fires and a 50-pound mix that "will enable ALITEC to achieve full characterization according to the Department of Defense's technology readiness scale prior to adoption into specific platforms."

Adranos is also one of 25 semifinalists in the U.S. Army's Expeditionary Technology Search, or xTechSearch, which will provide prizes of up to $325,000. If Adranos is selected as one of 12 finalists, the company plans to perform a live rocket flight test using ALITEC, which co-founder Chris Stoker says will provide a great opportunity to demonstrate its technology to senior Army leaders.

Stoker and co-founder Brandon Terry appeared on the INnovators with Dr. K segment on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick in 2016 to talk about their technology. You can watch that interview by clicking the link below:

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