India will soon see its SpaceX moment, says Agnikul CEO

The day is not far away when India will see or own a huge private aerospace company like Elon Musk that owns SpaceX Jeff Bezos-run Blue Origin, which brings travelers to the edge of space and beyond, Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder and CEO of the rocket startup AgniKul Cosmos, has introduced himself.

In a chat with IANS, Ravichandran, excited after Agnikul Cosmos was granted access to the facilities and expertise of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for the development and testing of systems and subsystems of its missiles, said that the pact was with ISRO will allow them to use their facilities to test different subsystems of their launcher.

“This, in turn, will help us with reduced capital expenditures and accelerated testing,” he said. “India may have its own SpaceX or Blue Origin type of mega private space company in the near future. There is so much support from the government and investors are open to investing in the domestic space technology startups as well,” added Ravichandran.

The next step, he added, will be to target multiple launches per year and scale it so that one launches every two to three weeks.

“In addition, it is a matter of making the vehicles more efficient and thereby enabling even cheaper access to customers. We do this through a mix of innovations for different technologies in the vehicle, ”Ravichandran informed.

Last month, Agnikul Cosmos from Chennai received a pledge from the Ministry of Space to conduct several tests and qualify its one-piece 3D-printed semi-cryogenic engine and other systems for its rocket at various ISRO centers.

This is the second pact the Department of Space has made with a missile manufacturer after the first with Hyderabad Skyroot Aerospace on 09/11

According to Ravichandran, their rocket engines are 100 percent 3D printed, even that in a single shot.

“We can use it to directly assemble what comes from the 3D printer in our launcher. The big advantage of this is the ability to provide and enable quick launch access and at the same time manufacture customizable launch vehicles, ”explains Ravichandran.

He founded the startup with Moin SPM within IIT-Madras with seed funding of Rs 3 crore, with the aim of developing and launching its first rocket in 2021 and then developing the ability to provide launch services for satellites.

The current investors in the Spacetech startup are Mayfield India, PI Ventures, Speciale Invest, Beenext, Artha and others.

In June India decided to allow private companies to build and operate rocket launch sites in and outside the country, subject to prior government approval.

Likewise, any rocket launch (orbital or suborbital) from Indian or overseas territory can only be carried out with the permission of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), an independent body of the Indian government, the Ministry of Space (DOS).

The launch could take place from its own or rented launch site and also from mobile platforms (land, water or air) in accordance with the draft of the National Space Transportation Policy-2020 issued by the Ministry of Space.

“Since we now also have to plan the entire engine construction in-house, we are confident that we will be able to control engine construction in India consistently and thus not only enable ‘Make in India’, but also ‘Design in India’. “Ravichandran told IANS.

He said anyone who wants to start a space technology startup should do it today.

“Now is the best time to start a space technology startup in India. The government has been very forthcoming with the help that has been provided to facilitate private missions, and now would be a good time to start getting things done, ”noted Ravichandran.

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