Agnikul Cosmos Makes History with Successful SOrTeD Mission

Agnikul, Picture : ANI
Preeti Bali / 7:01 am / May 31, 2024

After overcoming initial challenges, Agnikul Cosmos, a space technology startup incubated at IIT Madras, has achieved a historic feat. On May 30th, the company successfully launched its SOrTeD mission, a single-stage launch vehicle demonstration powered by a groundbreaking 3D-printed engine.

Lifting Off from a New Launchpad

The launch took place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, specifically from India’s first private launchpad, designated ALP-01. Originally scheduled for April 7th, the mission was postponed due to technical complexities. However, on May 30th at 7:15 am, the SOrTeD mission finally blasted off, marking a significant milestone.

Technological Triumph: A Closer Look at SOrTeD

The SOrTeD mission, lasting roughly two minutes, represents a major advancement in India’s development of indigenous space technology. The single-stage launch vehicle stood 6.2 meters tall and featured a unique elliptical nose cone. Notably, the vehicle boasted advanced avionics and autopilot software designed entirely by Agnikul Cosmos.

The true centerpiece of the SOrTeD mission was its engine, named Agnilet. This engine holds the distinction of being the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed semi-cryogenic rocket engine. The mission itself demonstrated impressive capabilities, including a pitch-over maneuver and wind correction before a successful splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.

Nationwide Celebration and Recognition

The successful launch of the SOrTeD mission garnered significant praise from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). In a social media post, ISRO acknowledged the achievement as “a major milestone” and commended Agnikul for “the first-ever controlled flight of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine realized through additive manufacturing.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also extended his congratulations to the Agnikul team, highlighting the launch as “a remarkable feat which will make the entire nation proud!” in his own social media post.

IIT Madras itself expressed immense pride in Agnikul’s accomplishment. Their social media post stated, “Congrats @AgnikulCosmos! […] It’s the world’s 1st flight with single-piece 3D printed rocket engine.” The post also acknowledged the contributions of key figures like Prof. Satyanarayanan R. Chakravarthy and the core Agnikul team members.

Looking Ahead: The Future of SOrTeD

The successful SOrTeD mission serves as a significant stepping stone for Agnikul Cosmos, a company aiming to capture a share of the multi-billion-dollar small satellite launch market. The valuable data acquired from this mission will directly contribute to the further development of the Agnibaan launch vehicle.

The Agnibaan is envisioned as a highly customizable launch vehicle capable of carrying a 300 kg payload to a 700 km orbit. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the small satellite launch industry, making it both more accessible and cost-effective.


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