Pioneering Space Technology: India's First Private Launchpad Rocket Ignites, PM Modi Applauds Agnikul's Achievement

The liftoff took place at 7.15 am today. The Agnibaan SOrTeD (SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator), holds the unique distinction of being powered by the world’s first 3D printed engine, Agnilet, that has been designed and built in India.

In a significant milestone for India’s burgeoning private space sector, Agnikul Cosmos successfully launched its 3D printed semi-cryogenic Agnibaan rocket. This groundbreaking achievement has garnered praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hailed it as “a remarkable feat which will make the entire nation proud.”

The launch of the Agnibaan rocket, powered by the world’s first single-piece 3D printed semi-cryogenic engine, represents a major leap forward for the Chennai-based startup and India’s space ambitions. Prime Minister Modi extended his congratulations to the Agnikul team, stating, “The successful launch of Agnibaan rocket powered by the world’s first single-piece 3D printed semi-cryogenic engine is a momentous occasion for India’s space sector and a testament to the remarkable ingenuity of our Yuva Shakti (youth power).” He also conveyed his best wishes to the Agnikul team for their future endeavors.

This achievement is a major boost for the government’s efforts to promote private participation in the space sector, which was opened up in 2020 to enable private players to build rockets and satellites. Agnikul is among a select group of startups that have designed and built launch vehicles capable of placing small satellites into low earth orbits. The company aims to launch Agnibaan rockets on small satellite missions from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on India’s east coast by the end of 2023.

Founded in 2017 by engineers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Agnikul has designed the Agnibaan rocket to carry payloads of up to 100 kg to low earth orbits. The semi-cryogenic engine used in the rocket operates on a spin-stabilized cryogenic and kerosene-based liquid propellant, making it more efficient compared to conventional solid and liquid fuel-based rockets.

The successful test has demonstrated Agnikul’s capability to locally manufacture a semi-cryogenic rocket engine using additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology. As India’s space sector opens up to private players, Agnikul’s achievement marks an important step in enhancing the country’s launch capabilities and making access to space more affordable and frequent.