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Agnikul heads for the stars – NDA signed with the Department of Space

Agnikul Cosmos Private limited, a Chennai based startup, which is building the country’s first private small satellite launch vehicle has inked a non-disclosure agreement with the Department of Space (DoS). By signing this agreement, Agnikul will get access to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) facilities and obtain information pertaining to launch from India. This was signed in the context of the newly proposed IN-SPACe entity.

The vehicle the startup is working on is called Agnibaan – a rocket that will be capable of carrying up to 100 kg of payload to low earth orbits up to 700 km with a plug-and-play engine configuration.

“We are targeting a 2022 launch for Agnibaan. We are gearing up towards that date despite Covid. Now this agreement with the government will certainly help us to accelerate our pace of development and also allow us to get there with less infrastructure. We are working on fine tuning various sub systems to adapt them to be light and flight worthy,”said Srinath Ravichandran, Co founder and CEO of Agnikul.

“In the next two years we want to be perfecting getting to orbit and get our first successful launch. This is a large effort by itself and we are keeping our focus to just this for now.,”he added. “We are proud to be building this vehicle from India and we will continue to build space technology that will complement ISRO’s efforts,” said Agnikul co-founder Moin SPM.

“We encourage new players such as Agnikul to explore disruptive technologies and break away from the conventional methods of manufacturing launch vehicles.”, said Secretary, DoS & Chairman ISRO, Dr. K. Sivan.

The startup said that it would also be raising more funds. In March this year, the firm had raised ₹ 23.4 crore in a pre-series A round led by pi Ventures with participation from Hari Kumar (LionRock Capital), Artha Ventures, LetsVenture, Globevestor, CIIE and existing investor Speciale Invest.

“These funds are still being used for ground based testing and vehicle qualification. We have received approximately $4M in funding till date,” Mr. Ravichandran said.

Published in The Hindu on December 5 | Source:

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