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Agnikul launches World’s First Rocket with Fully 3D Printed Engine

By   /  May 30, 2024  /  Comments Off on Agnikul launches World’s First Rocket with Fully 3D Printed Engine

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CHENNAI, INDIA :  Agnikul Cosmos,  the  IIT Madras-incubated  start-up,  has launched the world’s first rocket with a single piece 3D printed engine from Sriharikota at 7:15  AM today (30th May 2024). This remarkable feat has been achieved entirely through indigenous design and development.

‘Agnibaan – SOrTeD’ Sub-Orbital Technology Demonstrator also has the unique distinction of having been launched from India’s first private launch pad called ‘Dhanush’ established by Agnikul. It is also India’s first semi-cryogenic engine-powered rocket launch.

The key purpose of this mission, which is also Agnikul’s first flight, is to serve as a test flight, to demonstrate the in-house and home grown technologies, gather crucial flight data and ensure optimal functioning of systems for Agnikul’s orbital launch vehicle, the ‘Agnibaan’.

The launch was witnessed by various luminaries including dignitaries including Dr. S. Somanath, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman of IN-SPACe, Shri Rajeev Jyoti, Director (Technical), IN-SPACe, and Shri A Raj Rajan, Director SHAR.

AgniKul’s core team members were also present. They included Prof. Satyanarayanan R Chakravarthy, Founding Advisor, Agnikul Cosmos and Faculty, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras, Mr. Srinath Ravichandran, Co- Founder and CEO, Agnikul Cosmos, Mr. Moin SPM, Co-Founder and COO, Agnikul Cosmos, Ms. Saraniya Periaswamy, Vehicle Director, Agnibaan SOrTeD, and Ms. Umamaheswari. K, Project Director, Mission-01and Agnibaan SOrTeD.

Congratulating Agnikul on the launch, Dr. S. Somanath, Chairman, ISRO, said, “The Department of Space and ISRO congratulates Agnikul Cosmos on the successful launch of ‘Agnibaan  – SOrTeD’. The success involving many firsts including 3D printed semi-cryogenic engine, flight control systems etc. demonstrate the prowess of indigenous design and innovation. It motivates ISRO to support the Space startups and Non-governmental entities for innovation and Atmanirbharata to create a vibrant space ecosystem in the country.”

Lauding the efforts of the Agnibaan Launch, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman of IN-SPACe, said, “The successful launch of the Agnibaan SOrTeD is not just a milestone for Agnikul Cosmos but marks a significant moment for private players who are contributing to growing India’s space sector. Today it is the power of young innovators and entrepreneurs who are leading from the front, innovating with cutting-edge technology such as the world’s first 3D printed semi-cryogenic engine, that  is  driving  the  transformation  of  India’s  space  sector. At IN-SPACe, we are committed to support these young pioneers as they help to propel India to a leadership position in the global space arena.”

The vision of Agnikul is to bring space within everyone’s reach, aiming to enable launches from Anywhere, Anytime, Affordably. Agnikul is committed to developing launch vehicles that are both affordable and customizable according to customer needs.

Highlighting the significance of this historic milestone, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “Sky is no more the limit for our startups. Very innovative, first time in the world, deep core technology demonstrated today by Agnikul – a great inspiration for all young students to boldly take the entrepreneurship route and become employers.”

Speaking about the next steps, Prof. Satyanarayanan R Chakravarthy, Founding Advisor, Agnikul Cosmos and also the Head of National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD), IIT Madras, said, “We are proud to present India’s first Semi-cryo rocket engine, which is also the world’s most integrated single shot 3D printed piece. It signals the ability to rapidly assemble rockets that is unparalleled.”

The Agnikul team consists of over 200 engineers and is associated with NCCRD at IIT Madras. Additionally, the team is guided by 45 former scientists from ISRO who bring invaluable expertise to the endeavour of democratising access to space.

Mr. Srinath Ravichandran, Co-Founder and CEO, Agnikul Cosmos, said, “This is the culmination of 1000s of hours of reviews and hard work by the team. We are blessed to have had the opportunity and the full support of IN-SPACe and ISRO to design and build original space worthy hardware in India.”

Mr. Moin SPM, Co-Founder and COO, Agnikul Cosmos, said, “The Agnibaan SOrTeD project  owes its success to the unwavering support of our advisors, investors, vendors, customers and all  well-wishers. Our  dedicated  Agnikul  team  members  and  their  families,  have  been instrumental in turning this project into a reality. A Special thanks to IN-SPACe and ISRO for their invaluable guidance and support. We are immensely grateful for all stakeholder’s contribution. Agnibaan SOrTeD is only the beginning and we are hopeful of contributing to India’s Technological and Economic growth.”

Sharing their experience on the launch, Ms. Saraniya P, Vehicle Director, Agnikul Cosmos, said, “Every time challenges used to look difficult, I used to remind myself of believing in myself. This, along with the support of the team is what took me through building this complex vehicle.”

Ms. Umamaheswari. K, Project Director, Agnikul Cosmos, said, “The entire process has been thrilling and invigorating. This was however possible only because of the support and effort of the entire team. Launching a rocket is no small feat, and sometimes the test results don’t meet our expectations, which can be frustrating. But believing in yourself and the team throughout is key.”

The flagship launch vehicle, ‘Agnibaan’, is designed to be compatible with the mobile launchpad called ‘Dhanush,’ allowing for launch flexibility regardless of location. Agnibaan can be configured to accommodate payloads ranging from 30 kg to 300 kg, ensuring versatility across a wide range of mission requirements.

For Agnikul, the journey looks bright. The startup is looking at flying an orbital mission towards  the end of the financial year of 2025 and is working with customers on flights starting regularly from CY 2025

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