Agnikul Cosmos launches India’s second Privately-built Rocket

India’s Space Startup Agnikul Cosmos launched its Agnibaan rocket for the first time on 30th May, 2024, powered by the only Indian rocket engine to use both gas and liquid fuel in the country’s second flight of a privately-made rocket.

In the last two months, the Agnibaan’s first flight had been called off four times due to technical issues. The most recent cancellation happened on 28th May, 2024, when launch was aborted just five seconds before lift-off.

On 30th May, 2024, the customizable, two-stage launch vehicle designed to carry a payload of up to 300 kg (661 lb) into an orbit of about 700 kilometres’ altitude (435 miles) flew for 2 minutes to a maximum altitude, or apogee, of 8,076 meters before it finally splashed down into the ocean.

“All the mission objectives of this controlled vertical ascent flight were met and performance was nominal,” the company said.

ISRO said on social media platform X, “”A major milestone, as the first-ever controlled flight of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine realized through additive manufacturing.”

Chairperson of space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) Mr. Pawan K Goenka, also hailed the “historic moment”. The Indian Space Association (ISpA) mentioned that the launch would “bolster global confidence” in the private space industry of the country.

In the last few years, PM Shri. Narendra Modi has been pushing for the privatization and commercialisation of India’s space sector.

India’s first privately developed rocket, belonging to the company Skyroot, flew in the year 2022.

Agnikul’s name is derived from the Hindi and Sanskrit word for fire. Founded in 2017, it runs the first private launchpad and mission control center in India. The rest of the launchpads in the country are ISRO-operated.

By Shahrukh Ansari

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