The Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, which has witnessed most of the golden moments of the Indian space sector, is ready to create another history. Chennai-based space startup company Agnikul Cosmos is preparing to launch a satellite from India’s first private launch pad. His preparations are almost complete. If everything goes well, another satellite will soon be launched by a private company in India.
Agnikul co-founder and CEO Srinath Ravichandran told Business Standard that if the final phase is approved, the launch vehicle Agnibaan will be launched from Sriharikota during this financial year itself. Agnibaan is a two-stage launch vehicle. It has the capability to carry a payload of up to 100 kg to the low earth orbit to a distance of about 700 km. The second major feature of the vehicle to be launched by Agnikul will be that it will be the world’s first single piece 3D printed engine, which has been completely manufactured in India. The vehicle is equipped with a plug and play engine which has been designed according to the needs of this mission.
Ravichandran said, ‘We are at the stage where all the paperwork has been completed. Only the last step is left. Testing has also been completed and most of the work has been sent to Sriharikota. We are very close to it. It is expected that the launch of the vehicle will be completed during this financial year itself.
Private sector company Sky Route Aerospace successfully completed and operated the launch vehicle Vikram-S in November 2022. The company became the first company to do so by defeating SDSC SHAR in the battle for the space sector. Apart from the Sky Route, Agnikul is coming with a silent vehicle. It will be a controlled vehicle which will be similar to orbital class vehicles.
Agnikul was founded in 2017 by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras professors Srinath Ravichandran, Moeen SPM and SR Chakraborty, and in December 2020, it became the first Indian company to tie up with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). This agreement was made under the In-Space Initiative.
The company is one of India’s largest funded space startups. It has raised $42 million so far. “Once the launch is complete, we will try to raise more money,” Ravichandran said.
First Published – February 7, 2024 | 10:43 PM IST
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