Tom Bussing, founder of the Bellevue unit and former Adroit vice president, declined to disclose the terms of the cash purchase other than to call it "a significant amount."The money went to Bussing, to other members of the Bellevue team and to the former parent company.His new title is general manager.
A former Boeing
engineer, 43-year-old Bussing
started developing the new "pulse detonation" engine eight years ago, after reading an article about detonation technology in a journal.Since then he
has won nine patents for the technology, all of which he
has now sold to Pratt & Whitney
.He holds a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bussing
believes the engine's combination of low cost, efficiency and simplicity means that in its various versions it could replace many jet turbine and rocket engines.
"We had propellers in the '50s, we had jet engines in the late 20th century, and this technology is the future of propulsion," Bussing
While others around the world also are researching the concept, Bussing's
group has taken the lead, and has locked in its advances with an array of broad patents.While the first application is likely to be in cruise missiles, Bussing
envisions other variants that could cost-effectively power outer-space launch vehicles as well as commercial jet aircraft.
"We are the first to harness that power in a pulse detonation device," he
engine would cost 75 percent less than a supersonic-capable turbine engine, and would be tougher and more fuel efficient.
It's that possibility which has attracted a total of $22 million in funding from NASA
, the Department of Defense
and Congress since Bussing
started developing the technology in 1992.
...Bussing has a strong entrepreneurial side, which is at the root of why he decided to leave Boeing in 1992 to join Adroit.
A turning point came during a conversation with Boeing
executive Alan Mulally in 1991, during which Mulally told Bussing he
probably wouldn't get a chance to really manage a major program for 15 years.Nine months later Bussing left Boeing for "a high-risk position" at Adroit, where he would be responsible for developing the pulsed detonation technology and raising funds for it.
I felt I was using only 10 percent of my mental capacity," Bussing
said."I moved to Adroit
and was using 110 percent."
was directly involved in the pulse detonation technology in his
early years with Adroit
, most of Bussing's energy
has gone into building the company, finding funding and cultivating the eventual sale to Pratt during the last few years.
"I see myself as an entrepreneur, so this is a great opportunity to do it," Bussing
said, adding that he
expects to look for a new opportunity once the pulse detonation technology is more developed.
"Briefing two-star generals, getting patents - it was all a rush," he