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Space Startup Agnikul Makes History in the Indian Skies!

Did an Indian startup just win the space race? Chennai's Agnikul launches 1st ever 3D-printed rocket & ISRO congratulates! This could be a game-changer for India's space ambitions. Don't miss the details of this groundbreaking achievement! Read on.

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Swati Dayal
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In a triumphant moment for India's burgeoning private space industry, Chennai-based startup Agnikul Cosmos has successfully launched its Agnibaan SOrTeD (Suborbital Technological Demonstrator) rocket. This achievement marks a significant milestone on several fronts, showcasing cutting-edge technology and unwavering perseverance.

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) congratulated Agnikul, acknowledging the achievement as "a major milestone" and the "first-ever controlled flight of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine realized through additive manufacturing"

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"In a tweet, ISRO said, “Congratulations @AgnikulCosmos for the successful launch of the Agnibaan SoRTed-01 mission from their launch pad. A major milestone, as the first-ever controlled flight of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine realized through additive manufacturing.”

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Agnibaan Takes Flight: A Dream Realized

The launch, which took place on May 30, 2024, culminated in the successful liftoff of the Agnibaan SOrTeD from Sriharikota. This was the fifth attempt by Agnikul, highlighting the team's unwavering dedication and resilience in the face of technical hurdles. The 575 kg, 6.2-meter rocket soared skyward, powered by a revolutionary engine that has captured the attention of the space industry.

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"Humbled to announce the successful completion of our first flight - Mission 01 of Agnibaan SOrTeD - from our own and India's first & only private Launchpad within SDSC-SHAR at Sriharikota. All the mission objectives of this controlled vertical ascent flight were met and performance was nominal. The vehicle was completely designed in-house and was powered by the world's first single piece 3D printed engine and also happens to be India's first flight with a semi cryo engine," Agnikul said in a statement after the successful launch," Agnikul Cosmos said in a statement.

"Our greatest thanks to @INSPACeIND @isro @iitmadras & our incredibly committed team in helping us prove that a private player can design and fly original space tech hardware in India. #madeInIndiaForTheWorld," the statement added.

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A World First: Single-Piece 3D Printed Engine Powers Agnibaan

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Agnibaan SOrTeD is its engine, the Agnilet. This groundbreaking innovation represents the world's first single-piece, 3D-printed semi-cryogenic engine. This technology not only simplifies the engine's design but also significantly reduces quality testing time. The Agnilet boasts affordability and efficiency, utilizing a combination of commercially available aviation turbine fuel and liquid oxygen. 

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Moin SPM, co-founder of Agnikul Cosmos Private Limited, elaborated on the engine's propellant, stating "The Agnibaan SOrTeD is powered by a semi-cryogenic engine that uses commercially available aviation turbine fuel, essentially kerosene and medical grade liquid oxygen." 

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Collaboration and Innovation: A Winning Formula

In a tweet. Dr. Pawan Goenka, chairperson of IN-SPACe, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre, further emphasized the significance of the launch, highlighting Agnikul's demonstration of "the first semi-cryogenic and 3D printed engine by the Indian private sector." 

Private Launchpad Paves the Way for Future Endeavors

Another noteworthy aspect of the Agnibaan mission is the utilization of a private launchpad, a first for an Indian space company. This accomplishment, achieved with the support of ISRO, underscores the growing role of private players in India's space ambitions.

Srinath Ravichandran, a co-founder of the space start-up, said, "This launch is significant since it is India's first launch from a private launchpad and the rocket has the world's first single piece 3D printed engine designed and built indigenously."

ISRO itself is still in the development phase for a semi-cryogenic engine, making this achievement even more remarkable. ISRO has never flown a semi-cryogenic engine. It is developing a 2000 kN thrust semi-cryogenic engine and the first ignition trial was conducted successfully on May 2.

A New Era for Indian Space Exploration

The successful launch of the Agnibaan SOrTeD is a watershed moment for India's private space sector. Agnikul Cosmos has not only demonstrated the potential of 3D-printed engine technology but also showcased the collaborative spirit that can propel India's spacefaring ambitions to new heights. With continued innovation and support, the future of Indian space exploration appears bright. Agnikul's vision for the future is ambitious, with plans to offer launch-on-demand services for small satellites weighing between 30 kg and 300 kg. The company's dedication to customizable and transportable launch vehicles powered by their innovative.

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