Agnikul Cosmos, the space tech startup incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, will apply for a patent for its full-scale, second-stage engine Agnilet, which it claims is the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed rocket engine. This means it’s been made in one shot without the thousands of parts that are typically assembled in a conventional rocket engine.
Agnikul Cosmos said that the Chennai facility will use additive manufacturing technology to build 3D printed rocket engines, and will be used to produce engines for its own in-house rockets.
Srinath Ravichandran, chief executive of Agnikul Cosmos, said that the facility presently has the capacity to build two rocket engines from scratch, every week. This will allow the factory to produce eight engines every month, and build the number of engines required to launch Agnibaan – its two-stage launch vehicle, expected to launch by the end of the year.
The company said that it already has partners who are preparing small-sized satellites to be launched on the Agnibaan rockets, and the factory will address this demand. Agnibaan is an ultra-light launch vehicle that is lighter than the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s upcoming small, light commercial rocket – the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). While the SSLV can carry payloads of around 300kg, Agnibaan will be able to carry payloads of up to 100kg to low Earth orbits (LEOs) of up to 700km above Earth.
The 10,000-square-foot facility is located at IIT-Madras Research Park. It will have a 400mm x 400mm x 400mm metal 3D-printer from EOS that will enable end-to-end manufacturing of a rocket engine under one roof