India’s Agnikul Cosmos successfully launches 3D-printed Agnibaan rocket

The two-stage Agnibaan launch vehicle lifted off carrying a payload of up to 300 kg into a 700 km orbit, powered by its unique semi-cryogenic engine – a technology yet to be demonstrated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on any of its rockets.

In a major milestone for India’s private space sector, Chennai-based startup Agnikul Cosmos has successfully launched its indigenous 3D-printed Agnibaan rocket after multiple previous attempts were scrubbed.

The two-stage Agnibaan launch vehicle lifted off carrying a payload of up to 300 kg into a 700 km orbit, powered by its unique semi-cryogenic engine – a technology yet to be demonstrated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on any of its rockets.

Agnibaan utilizes a novel semi-cryogenic propulsion system, combusting a mix of liquid and gaseous propellants to generate thrust. This engine design combines aspects of cryogenic and solid rocket motors, potentially offering performance benefits.

The semi-cryogenic engine is one of the key innovative features of the 3D-printed Agnibaan, which was developed by Agnikul over several years on a modest budget backed by private capital.

Today’s successful launch marks a significant achievement for the Indian private space industry, which has begun to accelerate its activities and demonstrate domestic launch capabilities beyond ISRO’s missions.

While ISRO continues to lead India’s national space program, the emergence of startups like Agnikul creating innovative new rocket designs could help meet the growing global demand for affordable and frequent satellite launch services.

The Agnibaan launch also showcased India’s proficiency in 3D-printed rocket manufacturing, which enables more cost-effective and rapid production compared to traditional methods.

Agnikul has not yet disclosed the rocket’s payload or target orbit parameters for this inaugural launch. However, the company aims to eventually provide dedicated small satellite launch services capable of precisely inserting payloads into customized orbits.

With Agnibaan’s first successful flight under its belt, Agnikul is poised to join the burgeoning global small launch provider market while furthering India’s public and private space ambitions.