Agnikul Cosmos sets up India’s first private launch pad, Mission Control Center at Sriharikota | News Bharat

S. Somanath, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, inaugurated the launch pad on Monday

S. Somanath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization inaugurated the launch pad on Monday | Photo credit: special arrangement

Chennai-based space technology startup Agnikul has set up India’s first-ever launch pad to be operated by a private player at Sriharikota. The facility was inaugurated on Monday by S. Somanath, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Secretary, Department of Space.

“The first exclusive launch pad for a private launch vehicle has come up at the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC). Now India can travel to space from yet another space platform. Thank you Agnikul,” said Mr. Somanath.

Designed by Agnikul and implemented with the support of ISRO and IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre), the facility has two parts: the Agnikul Launch Pad (ALP) and the Agnikul Mission Control Center (AMCC).

All critical systems connecting these two sections, which are 4 km apart, are redundant and ensure 100% operation during the countdown.

The launch pad is specially built keeping in mind the need to support floating stage launches while addressing the need for an ISRO operations team to monitor key flight safety parameters during launches. In addition, it has the ability to share data and other critical information with ISRO’s mission control center as needed.

Srinath Ravichandran, Co-Founder & CEO, Agnikul said, “Being able to launch from our own launch pad while still working with ISRO’s launch operations teams is a privilege bestowed upon us by ISRO & IN-SPACe.” Moin SPM, Co-Founder, Agnikul said, “The new reforms introduced by the Ministry of Space are truly fulfilling everyone’s dream of going into space.”

The first launch will be a technology demonstrator

Agnikula’s first launch, which will be a controlled and guided mission, a vertical launch using its patented engine, will take place from this launch pad. The mission will be a technology demonstrator, mirroring Agnikula’s orbital launch, but on a reduced scale.

Agnibaan is Agnikul’s two-stage launch vehicle, which is highly flexible and capable of carrying up to 100 kg of payload into orbits around 700 km high (low Earth orbit) and allows for a plug-and-play configuration.

The Agnilet is the world’s first one-piece 3-D printed engine that was completely designed and manufactured in India and was successfully tested in early 2021, making Agnikul the first company in the country to test its engines at ISRO. Agnibaan and Agnilet will be used in the first launch of Agnikul.

Founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM and Professor SR Chakravarthy of IIT Madras, Agnikul is an incubated company of IIT Madras. It became the first Indian company to sign an agreement with ISRO in December 2020.

The agreement, signed under the IN-SPACe initiative, granted Agnikul access to the expertise and experience of the Indian Space Agency and facilities for the construction of Agnibaan and its launch pads.

IN-SPACe was conceived in June 2020 following the central government’s decision to open up the space sector and enable Indian private sector participation in a range of space activities. It functions as an independent single window nodal agency functioning as an autonomous agency within the Ministry of Space.

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