Agnikul Cosmos successfully Launches the World's first 3D-printed Agnibaan


Agnikul Cosmos, a space start-up based in Chennai, achieved a successful suborbital test flight of its domestically developed 3D-printed semi-cryogenic rocket, Agnibaan. The launch took place from its proprietary launch pad located at Sriharikota, marking it as the second private entity in India to accomplish this feat.

The test flight of the Agnibaan Sub-Orbital Technology Demonstrator (SOrTeD) took place at 7:15 am on Thursday at the Sriharikota launch pad within ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Centre. There was no live streaming, and fewer dignitaries were present after four unsuccessful attempts. "Humbled to announce the successful completion of our first flight - Mission 01 of Agnibaan SOrTeD - from our own and India's first and only private Launchpad within SDSC-SHAR at Sriharikota", Agnikul Cosmos said on X.

It was reported that all the mission objectives of this controlled vertical ascent flight were achieved, and the performance was as expected. "The vehicle was completely designed in-house and powered by the world's first single-piece 3D-printed engine, and it also happens to be India's first flight with a semi-cryo engine", the start-up said.  Agnikul is considering conducting an orbital mission by the conclusion of the 2025 fiscal year. Skyroot Aerospace, headquartered in Hyderabad, became the inaugural private Indian entity to launch its sub-orbital rocket Vikram-S in November 2022.

ISRO Chairman S Somanath said, "The success involving many firsts, including 3D-printed semi-cryogenic engines, flight control systems, etc., demonstrate the prowess of indigenous design and innovation. It motivates ISRO to support Space startups and Non-governmental entities for innovation and Atmanirbharata to create a vibrant space ecosystem in the country". 

Pawan Goenka, Chairman of the space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe), said the successful launch of Agnibaan SOrTeD was a historic moment for India's space sector. "The successful launch of the Agnibaan SOrTeD is not just a milestone for Agnikul Cosmos but marks a significant moment for private players who are contributing to growing India's space sector", Goenka said. This was the fifth attempt by Agnikul to launch the Agnibaan SOrTeD since March 22. The earlier attempts on March 22, April 6, April 7 and May 28 had to be called off due to technical difficulties. 

"We are proud to present India's first Semi-cryo rocket engine, which is also the world's most integrated single shot 3D printed piece. It signals the ability to rapidly assemble rockets that is unparalleled", Satyanarayanan R Chakravarthy, founding advisor of Agnikul Cosmos and Head of the National Centre for Combustion Research and Development (NCCRD) at IIT Madras said. The Agnikul team consists of over 200 engineers and is associated with NCCRD at IIT Madras and is also guided by 45 former scientists from ISRO.