Rocket Fuel Startup Wins Army Competition

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(image courtesy of Chris Stoker/Adranos) (image courtesy of Chris Stoker/Adranos)

A Purdue University-affiliated startup has won the U.S. Army's inaugural xTechSearch competition. Adranos Inc., which is developing what it calls a more powerful and environmentally-friendly propellant for long-range missile and space launch systems, has received $200,000 in funding for beating more than 350 companies in the competition.

Adranos was named a finalist in the competition in October and received $125,000. The company used that funding to perform a live flight demonstration of its ALITEC rocket propellant. Co-founders Brandon Terry and Chris Stoker say they will use the new funding to enable company growth and continue development of ALITEC.

"Brandon and I have always believed in our technology, but to have senior Army leaders recognize ALITEC’s potential impact is a great honor for us," said Stoker. "We are highly motivated to take the funding from this competition and advance our rocket fuel to the next level."

Purdue says flight demonstrations confirmed that ALITEC could substantially increase the range of ballistic missiles, compared to traditional solid propellants. Terry says the propellant is processed in the same way as traditional propellants, except that it uses a different metal powder in the processing.

The funding received from the competition brings Adranos' total funding to more than $1 million over the past year. The company initially received startup assistance from the Purdue Foundry.

"We’ve worked with nearly 250 startups, and Chris and Brandon are ‘rocket’ stars with their expertise in the technology and in the development of their entrepreneurial skills," said Greg Deason, senior vice president of entrepreneurship and place making. "Even more importantly, their innovation will serve the U.S. Army in advancing defense technologies. Very proud of these guys."

You can view footage from Adranos' flight demonstration in the video below:

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