Although Space is a dream for many, resources are something not that easily available to everyone. But this Chennai based start-up Agnikul Cosmos is all set to receive help from the Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) itself.
In a first-ever such private collaboration for ISRO, Agnikul Cosmos will be closely working with the premier space agency of India. As a result of this collaboration, they will together develop a small satellite launch vehicle.
If this sounds interesting to you, then read on to know more about this!
Agnikul and ISRO’s collaboration
A non-disclosure agreement between Agnikul Cosmos and ISRO has sealed the partnership for this small project. It will provide them access to the space agency’s facilities and give them technical assistant to develop this launch vehicle.
Another interesting fact is here: ever since the establishment of IN-SPACe, the agreement with Agnikul is the first one.
The government had set up IN-SPACe to ensure more private participation in the space activities of India.
Co-founder and CEO of Agnikul, Srinath Ravichandran called this a significant step. He said, “It is a significant step. The ISRO endorsement is beneficial in multiple fronts. This gives us credibility in the eyes of investors, customers, suppliers and other partners.”
About this launch vehicle
This satellite launch vehicle is the result of a simple idea that: “Going to space shouldn’t be the hard part.”
Agnikul is now nearly four-years-old, with its inception in 2016 and foundation in 2017. They are building a launch vehicle capable of taking payloads of up to 100 kilograms to the lower orbit of the earth.
They call this highly customizable vehicle, which is powered by a semi cryogenic engine, Agnibaan – meaning an arrow of fire.
Ravichandran believes that Agnibaan can add substantially to the existing capabilities of India and its space missions.
He talks about the potential that it holds for India, “The rocket can take 30-100 kilograms to space at the same dollar per kg price, in a very short period of time. It could make India the go-to country in terms of launching small satellites.”
Conception of Agnikul Cosmos
Ravichandran is a Wall Street trader who later became an aerospace engineer and with another fellow aerospace engineer Moin SPM, co-founded Agnikul Cosmos in 2017.
His website explains the name ‘Agnikul’ as a derivative of the Sanskrit word “Gurukul”. They say that the meaning of Agnikul can be interpreted as “a place where people learn to use fire”.
Their work started first at IIT Madras’s National Center for Combustion R&D and incubation of Agnikul at the institution soon followed. As a result of this success, they became part of Airbus incubator and did their first series of tests.
Ravichandran says, “Fundraising was a hurdle when we started raising money but that has significantly changed now. Policy, technology and usual hurdles have also become non-issues in the recent past.”
In a statement, ISRO has offered full support to the start-up and says it expects a launch in 2022.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan said, “We encourage new players such as Agnikul to explore disruptive technologies and break away from the conventional methods of manufacturing launch vehicles.”