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Wave Motion will work on jet-gun launcher for Navy

Everett, Wash.-based Wave Motion Launch Corp. has been awarded $1.3 million to support its efforts to develop a barrel-less launcher technology that could eventually be used to send payloads to space.

Wave Motion was selected for project funding from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division via the Naval Surface Technology and Innovation Consortium. NSTIC offers federally funded research and business opportunities related to naval surface technology innovation, with a focus on emerging ventures.

The funding is due to run through the end of 2023 — and if Wave Motion’s jet-gun technology proves out, the company could be selected for follow-up awards.

Wave Motion is the brainchild of three University of Washington alumni — Finn van DonkelaarJames Penna and Casey Dunn. The two-year-old venture was one of the award winners in UW CoMotion’s I-Corps program in 2020. Van Donkelaar is Wave Motion’s CEO and holds the patent for the jet-gun system. Penna is the chief operating officer, and Dunn has served as chief financial officer.

The jet-gun concept involves firing a jet of supersonic gas to push a projectile to very high speeds. Since there’s no physical structure or barrel surrounding the projectile, Wave Motion says the system has the potential to be up to 100 times more compact than a rocket or regular cannon of equivalent power.