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India has successfully launched its Agnibaan rocket

India has successfully launched its Agnibaan rocket

India has successfully launched its ‘Agnibaan’ rocket from the country’s first private space launch pad. This project marks a significant milestone for India’s space ambitions. Let’s delve into the details of this groundbreaking event.

India’s Agnikul Cosmos Achieves Milestone with Successful SOrTeD Mission Launch

In a significant milestone for India’s private space industry, Agnikul Cosmos has successfully launched its SOrTeD mission, a single-stage launch vehicle demonstration powered by a semi-cryogenic 3D-printed engine.

Major Achievement in Indigenous Space Technology

The mission, which lasted approximately two minutes, marked a major achievement for both the company and the country in the development of indigenous space technology. ISRO congratulated the Chennai-based space start-up, calling the launch “a major milestone.” ISRO tweeted, “Congratulations Agnikul Cosmos for the successful launch of the Agnibaan SoRTed-01 mission from their launch pad. A major milestone, as the first-ever controlled flight of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine realised through additive manufacturing.”

Overcoming Challenges to Launch from ALP-01

Initially scheduled to launch on April 7 but postponed due to technical glitches, the SOrTeD mission finally took off from India’s first private launch pad, ALP-01, at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. This launch pad represents a significant development in India’s space infrastructure, allowing private companies to conduct their missions independently.

Innovative Design and Technology

The mission featured a 6.2-meter-tall single-stage launch vehicle with an elliptical nose cone. It was equipped with advanced avionics architecture and autopilot software developed in-house, showcasing Agnikul Cosmos’s innovation capabilities.

The vehicle was powered by the Agnilet engine, the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed semi-cryogenic rocket engine. The mission included a series of precise maneuvers, including a pitch-over maneuver and wind biasing, before splashing down in the Bay of Bengal. These complex operations demonstrated the high level of precision and control achievable with the company’s technology.

Paving the Way for Future Launches

The successful launch of the SOrTeD mission marks a significant step forward for Agnikul Cosmos, which is targeting the multi-billion-dollar small satellite launch market. The data collected from this mission will help fine-tune the development of the Agnibaan launch vehicle. Agnibaan is expected to be highly customizable and capable of carrying a 300kg payload to a 700km orbit, catering to a wide range of client requirements.

India’s Strategic Move in the Global Space Market

India has taken another crucial step to dominate the global space markets. The nation has initiated this launch to place special-category satellites into orbit swiftly and cost-effectively. Agnikul Cosmos, a company based out of IIT Madras, conducted its first sub-orbital technology demonstrator launch under the name ‘Agnibaan.’ ISRO announced that the launch took place at 7:15 AM on Thursday, marking the first use of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine-controlled flight. ISRO Chairman S. Somanath congratulated Agnikul Cosmos on their achievement. Initially scheduled to take place a month and a half earlier, the launch was postponed four times before its successful completion on the fifth attempt.

The Unique Test: An Overview

The test lasted approximately two minutes in a single stage. The Agnibaan rocket featured the world’s first single-piece, 3D-printed semi-cryogenic engine, patented by Agnikul Cosmos. This engine operated on sub-cooled liquid oxygen and was entirely developed domestically.

Technical Specifications of Agnibaan Rocket

The Agnibaan rocket, with a distinct elongated conical nose, stands 6.2 meters tall and houses the satellite inside. It incorporated an avionics system based on Ethernet, used for the first time in such a context. The rocket also featured an indigenously developed autopilot control system.

To ensure safety, ISRO integrated a flight termination system that can destroy the rocket immediately if it veers off course. Designed to be launched from various launchers, this rocket is particularly suited for deploying satellites weighing up to 300 kilograms, addressing a specific market need.

The Launch Event: A Brief but Significant Flight

The entire launch lasted merely two minutes, after which the rocket splashed down into the sea. The test took place at ALP-01, the first private launch pad set up at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. Four seconds post-launch, the rocket redirected towards the designated path and reached the specified location within 1.29 seconds, before descending into the ocean. This two-minute test will help analyze and enhance the Agnibaan’s engine and design for future missions.

Conclusion

India’s successful launch of the Agnibaan rocket from its first private space launch pad signifies a monumental achievement in the nation’s space exploration journey. This project not only highlights India’s growing capabilities in space technology but also sets a precedent for future private space endeavors in the country. With the successful deployment of this innovative technology, India is poised to make significant strides in the global space market, offering swift and economical satellite launch solutions.

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