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Indian aerospace startup Agnikul set to flight test 3D-printed engine by end of 2023

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Agnikul Cosmos, an aerospace startup based in Chennai, the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed engine for their launch vehicle the Agnibaan, is set for a test flight and will likely take off by the end of the year

In a groundbreaking move, Agnikul Cosmos, an aerospace startup based in Chennai specialising in the development of satellite launch vehicles, is set to launch its inaugural flight with the world’s first 3D-printed engine before the close of this year, according to a report by the Economic Times.

The upcoming mission serves as a technological demonstrator, and is supposed to emulate Agnikul’s planned orbital launch — the first commercial launch anticipated in 2024 — but on a smaller scale.

“We are looking to launch by the end of the year. One test is pending, which will be conducted on our campus at IIT-Madras. Once the final reviews with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) are complete, we are good to go as the launch vehicle is already at the launch pad,” stated Chief Executive Srinath Ravichandran told reporters. “This isn’t a sounding rocket and is a complex machine, so we want to get it right in the first attempt.”

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Should the mission prove successful, the startup, incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras campus, will become India’s second private company to develop a small satellite launch vehicle. The first, Skyroot Aerospace, launched the Vikram S in November 2022.

Ravichandran highlighted a key distinction between Agnikul’s rocket, Agnibaan, and the Vikram S. While the Vikram S was a sounding rocket launched from guide rails, Agnibaan would lift off vertically, following a predetermined trajectory and executing precisely orchestrated manoeuvres during flight.

Agnibaan SOrTeD (SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator) is a highly customizable, single-stage launch vehicle capable of carrying up to 300 kg payload to orbits around 700 km above the ground (basically into the low Earth orbits). Anirban follows a plug-and-play configuration, adapting to the size of the satellite taken to space.

One of the biggest differences comes in the propellant system that Agnikul is using and how they resize their launch vehicles. Because they offer customisable sizes of launch vehicles, they can configure the vehicle for a particular payload size or satellite size. Furthermore, liquid propellants, used in Agnikul’s rocket, are reusable and safer compared to solid propellants.

Agnikul’s patented Agnilet engine stands as the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed engine, designed and manufactured entirely in India. Successfully test-fired in early 2021, this achievement marked a significant milestone for 3D printing technology in India, which traditionally have been reserved for medical implants.

The integration process of the launch vehicle, located at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, with the company’s private launchpad, was completed on August 15.

Agnikul’s customer base encompasses entities building small satellites aiming for a low Earth orbit, with payloads mainly consisting of communication and imaging satellites.

The Agnikul 3D printing Rocket Factory houses a metal 3D printer from EOS, along with other machines facilitating end-to-end manufacturing of a rocket engine within a single facility.

(With input from agencies)


Indian aerospace startup Agnikul set to flight test 3D-printed engine by end of 2023

Agnikul Cosmos, an aerospace startup based in Chennai, the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed engine for their launch vehicle the Agnibaan, is set for a test flight and will likely take off by the end of the year

In a groundbreaking move, Agnikul Cosmos, an aerospace startup based in Chennai specialising in the development of satellite launch vehicles, is set to launch its inaugural flight with the world’s first 3D-printed engine before the close of this year, according to a report by the Economic Times.

The upcoming mission serves as a technological demonstrator, and is supposed to emulate Agnikul’s planned orbital launch — the first commercial launch anticipated in 2024 — but on a smaller scale.

“We are looking to launch by the end of the year. One test is pending, which will be conducted on our campus at IIT-Madras. Once the final reviews with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) are complete, we are good to go as the launch vehicle is already at the launch pad,” stated Chief Executive Srinath Ravichandran told reporters. “This isn’t a sounding rocket and is a complex machine, so we want to get it right in the first attempt.”

Related Articles

India's

India’s space agency wants to take a peek inside kids’ brains for…

India's

Aditya L1 Mission: Spacecraft is nearing its final phase, says ISRO chief

Should the mission prove successful, the startup, incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras campus, will become India’s second private company to develop a small satellite launch vehicle. The first, Skyroot Aerospace, launched the Vikram S in November 2022.

Ravichandran highlighted a key distinction between Agnikul’s rocket, Agnibaan, and the Vikram S. While the Vikram S was a sounding rocket launched from guide rails, Agnibaan would lift off vertically, following a predetermined trajectory and executing precisely orchestrated manoeuvres during flight.

Agnibaan SOrTeD (SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator) is a highly customizable, single-stage launch vehicle capable of carrying up to 300 kg payload to orbits around 700 km above the ground (basically into the low Earth orbits). Anirban follows a plug-and-play configuration, adapting to the size of the satellite taken to space.

One of the biggest differences comes in the propellant system that Agnikul is using and how they resize their launch vehicles. Because they offer customisable sizes of launch vehicles, they can configure the vehicle for a particular payload size or satellite size. Furthermore, liquid propellants, used in Agnikul’s rocket, are reusable and safer compared to solid propellants.

Agnikul’s patented Agnilet engine stands as the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed engine, designed and manufactured entirely in India. Successfully test-fired in early 2021, this achievement marked a significant milestone for 3D printing technology in India, which traditionally have been reserved for medical implants.

The integration process of the launch vehicle, located at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, with the company’s private launchpad, was completed on August 15.

Agnikul’s customer base encompasses entities building small satellites aiming for a low Earth orbit, with payloads mainly consisting of communication and imaging satellites.

The Agnikul 3D printing Rocket Factory houses a metal 3D printer from EOS, along with other machines facilitating end-to-end manufacturing of a rocket engine within a single facility.

(With input from agencies)

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