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Space-Tech Startup Agnikul to Flight Test 3D-printed Engine By Year-End

Chennai-based startup Agnikul is gearing up to launch its groundbreaking rocket, Agnibaan, featuring the world’s first 3D-printed engine. The company, incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, is set to conduct a technology demonstrator mission by the end of this year, paving the way for its first commercial launch in 2024.

The Innovative Technology

Agnibaan boasts the pioneering Agnilet engine, a single-piece 3D-printed marvel, designed and manufactured entirely in India. This engine, successfully test-fired in early 2021, marks a significant milestone in 3D printing technology for the country. Unlike traditional sounding rockets, Agnibaan is a highly customizable, single-stage launch vehicle capable of carrying up to 300 kg payloads to orbits around 700 km high (low Earth orbits).

Distinguishing Features of Agnibaan

  • Vertical Liftoff and Precision Trajectory: Agnibaan differentiates itself from its predecessor, the Vikram S, by employing a vertical liftoff and a predetermined trajectory with precisely orchestrated maneuvers during flight. This approach enhances the launch vehicle’s efficiency and adaptability.
  • Customizable Launch Vehicle: Agnikul’s offering stands out in the industry by delivering customizable launch vehicles. Unlike conventional fixed-capacity launch vehicles, Agnibaan can be configured for specific payload sizes or satellite dimensions. This flexibility caters to a diverse range of satellite needs.
  • Liquid Propellant System: Agnibaan employs liquid propellants, offering advantages in terms of reusability and safety compared to traditional solid propellants. The use of liquid propellants enhances the overall efficiency and sustainability of the launch vehicle.

Launch Readiness and Collaboration with ISRO

Agnikul’s CEO, Srinath Ravinchandran, expressed confidence in the imminent launch, pending the completion of a final test at the IIT-Madras campus. The company has collaborated closely with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for reviews, ensuring a seamless integration process at the launch pad located at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

Commercial Prospects and Targeted Payloads

Agnikul aims to position itself as India’s second private company specializing in small satellite launch vehicles, following Skyroot Aerospace. The company’s target customers include entities building small satellites for communication and imaging purposes. The customizable nature of Agnibaan makes it an appealing choice for a variety of payloads.

Important Questions Related to Exams

Q1. What is Agnikul’s upcoming rocket, Agnibaan, known for?

Sol. Agnibaan features the world’s first 3D-printed engine, the Agnilet, marking a milestone in Indian 3D printing technology.

Q2. When is Agnikul planning its technology demonstrator mission for Agnibaan?

Sol. Agnibaan plans to conduct a technology demonstrator mission by the end of this years.

Q3. With whom has Agnikul collaborated for the integrated process of Agnibaan?

Sol. Agnikul has closely collaborated with the Indian Space Research Organizatio (ISRO) for reviews and integration at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

Q4. What is the commercial launch timeline for Agnibaan?

Sol. The first commercial launch for Agnibaan is scheduled for 2024.

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