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Agnikul Cosmos’ Agnibaan – World’s First 3D Printed Space Rocket Engine

Chennai-based startup Agnikul Cosmos has achieved a remarkable feat by successfully launching the world’s first space rocket with a single-piece three-dimensional (3D) printed engine. After four failed attempts, Agnikul triumphed on its fifth try, launching its own rocket, named Agnibaan, into space. This launch marks India’s first semi-cryogenic engine-powered rocket, which was completely designed and manufactured indigenously.

Innovative Use of Inconel Material

Agnikul utilized the Inconel material to build the 3D-printed rocket. Inconel is an alloy known for its oxidation-corrosion resistance and suitability for space travel, making it an ideal choice for this groundbreaking project.

Second Private Company to Launch a Rocket in Space

With this achievement, Agnikul Cosmos became the second Indian private company to launch its rocket into space. The first private company to accomplish this feat was the Hyderabad-based startup Skyroot Aerospace, which launched its indigenously developed Vikram-S rocket from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Sriharikota launchpad.

Agnibaan Rocket and Agnilet Engine

The Agnibaan rocket is a customizable two-stage rocket with a height of approximately 20 meters. It has the capability to carry a payload of up to 300 kg to the low Earth orbits (LEO), roughly 700 km above Earth. Agnibaan is a SOrTeD (SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator) with a plug-and-play configuration, allowing it to be expanded or shrunk depending on the satellite’s requirements for space travel.

The rocket utilizes liquid propellant-liquid oxygen or kerosene as fuel.

Agnikul’s patented Agnilet engine, the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed engine, is the powerhouse behind the Agnibaan rocket. The Agnilet engine was designed, tested, and manufactured entirely in India and was successfully test-fired in 2021.

Agnikul’s Journey and Achievements

Agnikul Cosmos was founded by Moin SPM and Srinath Ravichandran in 2017 and incubated at IIT Madras. The company specializes in building small launch vehicles for commercial space missions and designs, manufactures, tests, and launches orbital-class rockets for micro and nanosatellites.

Agnikul became the first company in India to build a factory capable of manufacturing 3D-printed rockets.

Additionally, Agnikul designed and developed India’s first privately built rocket launchpad, ‘Dhanush,’ located at ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Center-SHAR (SDSC-SHAR) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This launchpad was constructed with the assistance of ISRO and the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), enabling Agnikul to launch its rockets from the same spaceport as ISRO.

Agnikul Cosmos’ achievement in launching the world’s first 3D-printed space rocket engine marks a significant milestone in the field of rocket technology and solidifies India’s position as a leading player in the global space industry.

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