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IIT Madras Grads Reimagine How Satellites Travel to Space With 3D-Printed Rockets

Chennai-based Agnikul Cosmos builds low-cost rockets using 3D technology for commercial space missions. The startup makes rockets that are 6–7 times cheaper than conventionally constructed ones, and that too in much less time.

What if you could get access to space?

Making this possible is Chennai-based Agnikul Cosmos which builds low-cost rockets using 3D technology for commercial space missions. They design, manufacture, test, and launch orbital-class rockets for micro and nanosatellites.

Co-founded by graduates of IIT Madras — Srinath Ravichandran and Moin SPM — the startup is re-imagining how satellites travel to space.

Since 2017, they have launched India’s first-ever factory capable of manufacturing 3D-printed rockets; inaugurated the company’s first-ever launchpad, designed and operated by a private player; and successfully completed the flight acceptance test of their 3D-printed rocket engine.

What makes their 3D-printed rockets special is that the entire rocket engine is a single component. There is no joining, welding, or any of the processes typically done in a rocket manufacturing process.

“The time that is consumed to make a rocket engine conventionally, could take around six months. We would be able to build an entire rocket engine in three days using 3D technology,” says Moin. This makes Agnikul’s rockets 6–7 times cheaper than building a conventionally constructed rocket.

“There are multiple industries that are going to use space as a platform. When you open up space, what you get is data. Today, data is the next big thing in the world. Once data is provided, you can make better decisions,” says Moin.

“Insurance companies are trying to take the data from space to help them make decisions regarding giving loans. Imagine if this could be at a smartphone level. Even a farmer gets an opportunity to see the probability of his yield. This will allow them to make informed decisions. This will also help them understand other factors like the weather. Ultimately, that is the target goal,” he adds.

Watch this video to learn more about 3D-printed rockets:

Edited by Pranita Bhat