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Indian startup Agnikul achieves milestone with successful 3D printed rocket launch- Details

Indian startup Agnikul achieves successful launch of its first sub-orbital test rocket, powered by innovative 3D-printed engines, after overcoming technical delays.

By: MD IJAJ KHAN
Updated on: May 30 2024, 21:52 IST
Indian startup Agnikul achieves a milestone with successful test launch of 3D-printed rocket, advancing space technology. (@AgnikulCosmos)

Indian startup Agnikul successfully launched its inaugural sub-orbital test vehicle, marking a milestone achievement after overcoming several months of delays due to technical issues. The launch, powered by the company's innovative 3D-printed rocket engines, took place at the Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota island in South India.

Advanced Engineering at Work

Dubbed Agnibaan SOrTeD (Sub-Orbital Technology Demonstrator), the single-stage vehicle took off Thursday morning local time, marking a significant step forward for Agnikul's development of its Agnibaan commercial orbital launch vehicle.

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The 6.2-meter-tall rocket, constructed of carbon composite materials, houses Agnikul's proprietary 3D-printed semi-cryogenic engine, each capable of generating 6.2 kN of thrust. Agnikul CEO Srinath Ravichandran explained that the engines, crafted in-house, are produced efficiently, with a turnaround time significantly shorter than traditional methods, thanks to advanced 3D printing technology, TechCrunch reported

Challenges and Solutions

Ravichandran emphasised the uniqueness of Agnikul's approach, highlighting the single-piece construction of the core engine, which streamlines the manufacturing process and enhances flexibility. Despite other companies adopting 3D printing for rocket components, Agnikul asserts its comprehensive utilisation of the technology sets it apart, offering unparalleled adaptability and customization for space missions.

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The choice of inconel as the engine material posed challenges, particularly in heat management, prompting Agnikul to iterate extensively on cooling channel designs. Additionally, the startup prioritised safety by opting for a liquid propulsion-based system over solid-fuel alternatives, minimising hazards associated with explosive materials.

Agnikul's journey from concept to launch involved rigorous engineering and numerous iterations, underscoring the company's commitment to innovation. With support from retired ISRO scientists and collaboration with academic institutions like IIT Madras, Agnikul is poised to revolutionise India's space sector.

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The successful test launch not only validates Agnikul's technological prowess but also reflects India's growing prominence in the global space arena. With a burgeoning ecosystem of space tech startups and supportive government policies, India is primed to leverage its capabilities for commercial space ventures, ushering in a new era of space exploration and innovation.

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First Published Date: 30 May, 14:17 IST
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