Chennai-based space startup Agnikul Cosmos has set up India’s first private launch pad in Sriharikota, learn more | News Bharat

Agnikul Cosmos, a Chennai-based space technology startup, has set up India’s first launch pad at a facility in Sriharikota. The launch pad, which will be operated by a private player, was designed by Agnikul and later executed with the help of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe).

The facility was inaugurated on Monday by S. Somnath, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Ministry of Space. It consists of two parts – the Agnikul Launch Pad (ALP) and the Agnikul Mission Control Center (AMCC). The sections are 4 km apart, and all critical systems and mechanisms connecting them are redundant and ensure 100% operation during the countdown.

Meet Agnikul Launchpad

Agnikul is an IIT Madras aerospace technology startup founded in 2017 by alumni Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM and Prof SR Chakravarthy. In 2020, the startup became the first company in the country to sign an agreement with ISRO. According to the agreement signed under the IN-SPACe initiative, Agnikul would be able to access ISRO’s expertise and capabilities to build Agnibaan and its launch pads.

The launch pad was built by Agnikul in consultation with ISRO and keeping in mind the need to support liquid stage launches. ALP also enables ISRO’s operations unit to control and monitor key flight safety parameters during launches. In addition, it can also transmit important information to ISRO’s Mission Control Center.

“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. Thanks to Agnikul,” Somanath said while talking to The Hindu.

Moin SPM, co-founder of Agnikul said, “The new reforms introduced by the Ministry of Space are truly fulfilling everyone’s dream of going into space.”

About the first launch

In a controlled and guided mission, the first launch of Agnikul will be carried out from ALP using its patented Agnilet engine and highly flexible Agnibaan launch vehicle. The mission will aim to be a technology demonstrator that will mirror Agnikul’s orbital launch, but on a reduced scale, India Today reported.

Agnibaan, a two-stage launcher, is Agnikul’s highly adaptable asset. It can carry up to 100 kg of payload into an orbit approximately 700 km high, while allowing for a plug-and-play configuration.

The world’s first one-piece 3-D printed engine – the Agnilet – is entirely designed and manufactured in India. It even cleared its test fire, which was conducted at ISRO in 2021, making Agnikul the first company to do so. Agnibaan and Agnilet will be used in the first launch of Agnikul.

Also Read: Antriksh Jigyasa: ISRO launches online knowledge portal to provide space science education

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