Indian launch vehicle startup AgniKul selected for Airbus BizLab

Airbus BizLab participants. Image courtesy of Airbus.

AgniKul Cosmos, a Chennai-based startup aiming to develop its own small launch vehicles, has been selected as one of the 24 new startups to join Airbus’ accelerator BizLab. Through this programme, AgniKul and other participants will go through a six-month acceleration programme.

BizLab currently has four campuses, in Toulouse, Hamburg, Madrid, and Bangalore. Of the 24 startups selected, only AgniKul deals directly with the upstream space industry.

AgniKul is in the process of developing its Agnibaan orbital launch vehicle, which will be able to carry up to 100kg to a 700km Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Agnibaan will be a two-stage Liquid Oxygen (LOX)/Kerosene rocket with a third “baby” stage, and will have a plug-and-play configuration for an air launch vehicle. Its first stage engine will utilize 7 identical engines, whose development will incorporate additive manufacturing – each engine will carry a 3D-printed regenerative cooling system and an injector to mix the LOX and Kerosene.

Agnibaan will aim to fulfill AgniKul’s first mission of providing affordable unmanned launches, and will prepare the company for ultimate its goal of providing affordable manned translunar flybys.

Founded in 2017, AngiKul is currently based out of the National Centre of Combustion R&D (NCCRD) in the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-Madras). The company is also looking to set up an office in either Singapore or the UK.

The only other Indian launch vehicle startup, Bangalore-based Bellatrix Aerospace, is working on its launch vehicle Chetak. Chetak will be designed to take 50kg to a 700km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO), with a reusable first stage, and an expendable second stage with a multiple restart capability.

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