Chennai-based space-tech start-up Agnikul Cosmos opened its Rocket Factory-1 — India’s first-ever rocket facility dedicated to 3D printed rocket engines at scale. According to a press release, the facility at IIT Madras Research Park was unveiled by N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, TATA Sons with ISRO Chairman S Somanath being the Guest of Honour.

N chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, and ISRO Chairman S Somanath inaugurating Agnikul Cosmos’ Rocket Factory-1 at the IIT Madras Research Park

A facility unlike any other, Agnikul’s Rocket Factory-1 is a production house with varied machineries, 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. The factory has also been designed keeping in mind the ability to produce two rocket engines per week

Agnikul had entered into an agreement with EOS in 2021 as their 3D printing partner for engines and this is an important step in seeing that support translate to reality, the release said.

The IIT Madras incubated start-up became the first Indian company to sign an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in December 2020. The agreement signed under the IN-SPACe initiative sanctioned Agnikul to access the Indian space agency’s expertise and facilities to build Agnibaan.

Agnibaan’s features

Agnibaan is a customisable, two-stage launch vehicle, capable of taking up to 100 kg payload to orbit around 700 km high (low Earth orbits) and enable plug-and-play configuration. It is the world’s first single-piece 3D printed engine fully designed and manufactured in India and was successfully test-fired in early 2021. Agnikul showcased this engine at IAC 2021, the space tech gathering held in Dubai

Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder & CEO, Agnikul said, “This marks the beginning of a new phase where we step into scaling and production from R&D & testing. I am immensely proud of our team and grateful for their zeal and commitment to translating translate our vision into reality.”

Founded in 2017, Agnikul’s mission is to make space accessible and affordable and has its eyes set on supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of enabling the building of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. “Agnikul has raised total funding of ₹105 crore from Mayfield India, pi Ventures, Speciale Invest, and a host of others including prominent angels such as Anand Mahindra and Naval Ravikant since 2019,” the release said.

Agnikul will also be presenting their utlisation of Metal Additive Manufacturing for rocket engine manufacturing at the upcoming Metal Additive Manufacturing Symposium on 27th- 28th July at the Taj Yeshwantpur Bengaluru