Indian space start-up Agnikul Cosmos announced that the Government of India awarded them the patent for having indigenously designed and 3-D printed a one-of-its-kind rocket engine. Dubbed 'Agnilet', the engine is said to be the world's first single-piece 3-D printed rocket engine and was successfully test-fired in early 2021.
Typically, rocket engines have thousands of parts, however, Agnikul says that they have designed their engine to encapsulate all of these parts into a single piece of hardware, with zero assembled parts.
Elaborating on their achievement, Srinath Ravichandran, co-founder & CEO, of Agnikul said, “Rocket engines usually have 1000s of parts in them - starting from injectors that inject fuel into the engine, to the cooling channels that cool the engine, to the igniter that is necessary to ignite the propellants. Designing Agnilet as a single piece of hardware has not been an easy ride, but our team has proved it to be otherwise". He also thanked their mentors from the aerospace industry, academia and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
Recently, Agnikul had inaugurated its 'Rocket Factory- 1', which is said to be India’s first-ever rocket facility dedicated to 3D print such rocket engines. Situated at the IIT Madras Research Park in Chennai, the new state-of-the-art production facility houses world-class machinery, including a 400mm x 400mm x 400mm metal 3D printer from EOS, and a host of other machines that will enable end-to-end manufacturing of a rocket engine under one roof.
Founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM & Prof. SR Chakravarthy, IIT Madras, Agnikul is on a mission to make space accessible and affordable. The Indian launch vehicle start-up is working on launching satellites to Low Earth Orbits from Indian soil. Thus far, only the government-run Indian Space Research Organization has been building and launching rockets from India. However, start-ups have set their sights on space, with the reforms that are being implemented in India's space sector.
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