Decoding 'Rocket' Science: Srinath Ravichandran, co-founder and CEO, Agnikul Cosmos Agnikul Cosmos provides launch services for small satellites primarily for payloads and is planning for a first developmental launch in 2024 and then first commercial launch in the coming months

By Shrabona Ghosh

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A group of enthusiasts making Space accessible to all! This is how Agnikul Cosmos define its goals. The spacetech startup provides launch services for small satellites primarily for payloads with a mass range of 30 to 300 kg, which is specifically designed to cater to the growing demand for small and microsatellite deployment. It is planning for a first developmental launch in 2024 and then first commercial launch in the coming months. "We are building a launch vehicle called Agnibaan which is a two stage vehicle powered by a single piece 3D printed semi cryo engine. The first stage engine is called Agnite and the second stage engine is called Agnilet," said Srinath Ravichandran, co-founder and CEO, Agnikul Cosmos.

Since not all satellite missions are the same, it is focused on making launch vehicles customizable. "We aim to make space more accessible for a broader range of customers by making the process flexible and affordable," Ravichandran added.

Manufacturing and waiting time generally cause delay in getting payloads into space. The stratup's single-piece 3D printed engine significantly reduces the manufacturing process time, making it possible to launch satellites within a few weeks. "This not only speeds up the launch of satellites but also reduces overall project costs. Our focus on small satellite launch services has allowed us to streamline the launch process, ensuring quicker access to space for our customers," he said, adding that the space launch industry is dynamic and ongoing research and development is necessary to improve launch vehicle technology.

One of the most significant challenges the founders face is having the right talent on board coupled with finding the right vendors to fabricate the materials required for the launch vehicles. "Quality is the most important part of manufacturing and identifying reliable vendors who can meet our requirements can be challenging. With the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), we have had the chance to access their world-class facilities for assembling and testing our components. This collaboration has enhanced the quality of our products," he explained.

The founders have signed 35 Letters of Intent (LOI) with customers, demonstrating the strong demand for launch services. "We are actively engaging with different organizations to establish relationships with small satellite providers worldwide. This helps us in widening our customer network and making launch services accessible to satellite operators around the world. We are planning to conduct a test suborbital launch marking a milestone on our path to offering commercial launch services. It will provide us data that will check our readiness for subsequent orbital launches and our plan for the timeline is for an orbital launch in Q3 2024."

"We are looking forward to our first launch in this year which will be a SubOrbital Tech Demonstrator (SOrTeD). The launch will be done from our own launchpad in Sriharikota which is India's first private launchpad," the CEO said.

Year of inception: Dec, 2017

No. of employees: 250 employees supported by 35 Ex-ISRO scientists

Revenue for FY 2022-23: We are in the incremental R&D phase and yet to receive revenue

Total funding stands at $40 million.

Major clients: LOIs has been signed with different customers across globe

Shrabona Ghosh

Correspondent

A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 

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