India set to attend its SpaceX moment soon: Agnikul CEO: The Tribune India



New Delhi, October 3

The day is not far off when India will see its own private mega aerospace company like Elon Musk, owner of SpaceX or Blue Origin, led by Jeff Bezos, taking travelers to the outer reaches of space and beyond, Srinath Ravichandran , co-founder and CEO of rocket startup. AgniKul Cosmos, considered.

In a conversation with IANS, Ravichandran, delighted that Agnikul Cosmos has been granted access to the facilities and expertise of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the development and testing of systems and subsystems of its rockets, said the pact with ISRO will allow them to use its facilities to test various subsystems of their launcher.

“This in turn will help us reduce capital expenditure and speed up testing,” he said. The next step, he added, will be to aim for multiple launches per year and scale to the point of having a launch once every two or three weeks.

“Beyond that, it would be about making vehicles more efficient, thus providing even cheaper access to customers. We are doing this through a mix of innovations on various technologies in the vehicle,” said Ravichandran.

Last month, Chennai-based Agnikul Cosmos received approval from the Space Ministry to perform several tests and qualify its 3D printed semi-cryogenic engine and other rocket systems at various ISRO centers.

This is the second pact the Space Ministry has signed with a rocket maker, following the first with Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace on September 11.

According to Ravichandran, their rocket engines are 100% 3D printed, that too in one shot. “This allows us to directly assemble what comes out of the 3D printer into our launcher. The big advantage of this is the ability to provide and enable quick launch access and, at the same time, manufacture customizable launchers.” , explained Ravichandran.

He formed the startup with Moin SPM within IIT-Madras with seed funding of Rs 3 crore, with the aim of developing and launching his first rocket in 2021 and subsequently developing the ability to provide a satellite launch service.

The current investors in the spacetech startup are Mayfield India, PI Ventures, Speciale Invest, Beenext, Artha and others. In June, India decided to allow private companies to establish and operate rocket launch sites inside and outside the country, subject to prior government approval.

Likewise, any rocket launch (orbital or suborbital) from Indian or overseas territory can only be carried out with the permission of the Indian National Center for Space Promotion and Authorization (IN-SPACe), a independent body set up by the Indian government, under Department of Space (DOS).

The launch could come from an own or rented launch site, as well as from mobile platforms (land, sea or air) in accordance with the draft national space transport policy 2020 published by the Ministry of Space.

“Now that we also need to plan the entire engine building installation in-house, we are confident that we can control end-to-end engine manufacturing in India, thus not only enabling ‘manufacture in India’ but also ‘design in India’, ”Ravichandran said.

He said anyone who wants to start a space technology startup should do so today. “Right now is the best time to set up a space tech startup in India. The government has been very open in terms of the help provided to enable private missions and now it would be a good thing. it’s time to start getting things done, ”noted Ravichandran. IANS


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