Agnikul Cosmos becomes first company to fire a single piece, fully 3D printed rocket engine
Chennai: Agnikul Cosmos has successfully fired it’s higher stage semi cryogenic rocket engine – Agnilet. This is a unique rocket engine because it is completely 3d printed as a single component in a 3d printer, in one run of the printer. This goes on to prove Agnikul’s engineering architecture behind it’s orbital class vehicle’s (Agnibaan’s) propulsion systems
“This entire engine – Agnilet – is just one piece of hardware from start to finish and has zero assembled parts. We don’t think anyone in the world has ever pushed 3d printing of a rocket engine to this extent and we couldn’t be happier to have conceived, designed, realized and test fired this engine, fully in India.” said Srinath Ravichandran, CEO and co-founder of Agnikul Cosmos.
Rocket engines usually have 100s of parts in them – starting from injectors that inject fuel into the engine, to the cooling channels that cool the engine, to the igniter that is necessary to ignite the propellants. Agnilet was designed in such a manner so as to encapsulate all of these into just one piece of hardware. So, this automates the making of an entire engine.
“The recent set of changes announced by the Indian government regarding the formation of IN-SPACe have been a strong motivation for all of us. We now know that the Government has taken the first step in encouraging us and is ready to enable us. This kept us going through our preparatory phase with the propulsion crew working incredibly hard over the last few months.” Srinath added.
“Since our inception we have always been a huge believer of the “Make in India” ideals and more recently of the AatmaNirbharBharat vision of our Honourable Prime Minister. True to that spirit, everything about this engine is Indian.” said Moin SPM, Cofounder and COO of Agnikul Cosmos. “From Agnikul’s operations standpoint, we are relieved that we would not have to track or manufacture numerous parts to realize a rocket engine from now on. All that remains after printing is bare minimum post processing after which the engine can directly be assembled in our launch vehicle.” he added.
Agnikul has been testing engines at a smaller scale or those that were not 100% additively manufactured since September 2018. However, this is the first time they have demonstrated firing of a semi cryogenic fully 3d printed rocket engine.
“We are incredibly thankful to our advisors & the newly formed IN-SPACe committee for constantly supporting us through our journey. Being the first company in the country to sign an agreement with the Department of Space under IN-SPACe has been a strong shot of motivation and receiving direct support from our Honourable Prime Minister along with ISRO Chairman’s repeated focus on building disruptive space technology has only propelled us further to push boundaries.”, said Srinath.
“Agnikul is an example of what academia mentored deep tech startups can accomplish in India with the Government’s support and we are thankful to ISRO and IIT Madras for their constant encouragement here.” said Professor SR Chakravarthy, Cofounding Advisor & Mentor of Agnikul Cosmos.
AgniKul Cosmos Private Limited is a Chennai based start-up building India’s first private small satellite launch vehicle. Their vehicle is – Agnibaan – a rocket that will be capable of carrying up to 100 kg of payload to low Earth orbits up to 700 km with a plug-and-play engine configuration.