Chennai-based space tech start-up, Agnikul Cosmos, has opened its rocket-making facility — Rocket Factory – 1, which happens to be India’s first-ever facility dedicated to 3D printed rocket engines at scale.
Spread over 10,000 sq. ft, the facility is situated at the IIT Madras Research Park and was formally inaugurated by N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, and S. Somanath, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in presence of Pawan Goenka, chairman of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe).
When asked about the investment that went into this project, Agnikul did not want to divulge details but its co-founder Srinath Ravichandran told The Hindu that to start with this facility, the start-up will make two rocket engines per week. “We are now stepping into scaling and production from R&D and testing,” he added.
This facility will house world-class machinery, including a 400mm x 400mm x 400mm metal 3D-printer from EOS, and a host of other machines that will enable end-to-end manufacturing of a rocket engine under one roof.
Agnikul had entered into an agreement with EOS in 2021 as their 3D printing partner for engines. To a query on where these rocket machines would be used, Mr. Ravichandran said, “This is for our own rockets that we are building.”
Agnikul is building India’s first private small satellite launch vehicle – Agnibaan, a rocket that enables plug-and-play configuration and is capable of carrying up to 100 kg of payload to low Earth orbits. This on-demand rocket can be fully customized to the customer’s needs at an affordable cost.
The start-up had earlier said that Agnibaan will be launched in 2022. Mr Ravichandran said, “We are targeting to launch it by end of this year. Work is going on.” Agnikul is looking at setting up another facility and is working on the details.
Founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM and S.R. Chakravarthy (from IIT Madras), Agnikul became the first Indian company to sign an agreement with ISRO in December 2020.
Till date, the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), has incubated start-up has raised a total funding of ₹105 crore ($15 million) from Mayfield India, pi Ventures, Speciale Invest and a host of other prominent angels like Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra and Naval Ravikant.
Source: The Hindu