Agnikul Cosmos Is an Indian Startup That Desires to Make the House Race Reasonably priced


Agnikul Cosmos, an Indian area tech startup seeking to make the most of the huge area journey alternative of the following decade, has been grabbing headlines within the current instances. From signing offers with Alaska Aerospace Company within the US, to signing an MoU with ISRO for accessing its infrastructure and technical experience, Agnikul Cosmos has made big leaps since its inception in 2017. This IIT Madras incubated startup is presently engaged on its well-liked launch car Agnibaan and appears to hold out its first launch in 2022. This Agnibaan launch rocket is being developed to hold as much as 100-kg small satellites to low orbit Earth. 

The area firm appears to offer a cab-like service to small satellite tv for pc producers, enabling them to launch from wherever and anytime from throughout the globe. Agnikul Cosmos can be taking a look at methods by which area transportation may be made extra reasonably priced and extra accessible, for analysis, expertise improvement, and companies. Sooner or later, it appears to do not less than 20-25 launches yearly.  

agnikul cosmos infograph Agnikul Cosmos

Devices 360 spoke to Srinath Ravichandran, co-founder and CEO, Agnikul Cosmos to know a bit extra concerning the firm’s journey up to now and its future plans.  

1. What had been you doing earlier than you started Agnikul Cosmos?        

I’m {an electrical} engineer turned Wall Road dealer turned aerospace engineer. I’ve a Bachelor’s diploma in electrical engineering from Faculty of Engineering, Guindy, and Masters diploma in monetary engineering from Columbia College and aerospace engineering from the College of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Once I was working in finance, I realised that my coronary heart was actually in engineering. So, I took a leap of religion with quitting the finance job and appears prefer it has been going okay up to now. 

2. What motivated you to start Agnikul Cosmos? How did you meet your fellow co-founder?    

Story goes again to 2015, once I was in Los Angeles, I visited lots of universities and different firms and noticed that each place price one thing had a small satellite tv for pc ready to be launched. So, I noticed an issue for small satellites accessing area by typical launch autos. It felt just like what we see in rideshare by floor transportation – say in a bus together with different individuals – there ought to be area within the bus, the bus ought to go to the identical place that you just need to go and it’ll begin solely after the bus is full. All these had been ache factors for the small satellite tv for pc producers, we wished to handle this with a cab like resolution which may be launched from wherever and anytime within the globe. This led to the core concept behind Agnikul Cosmos.  

Together with my then buddy and now cofounder – Moin, who was operating his personal enterprise, we determined to pursue this concept a bit. We felt, educational establishments are a great way to begin. We created an inventory of IITs which had been engaged on aerospace associated applied sciences. We chilly referred to as and mailed about 70-80 professors. One such chilly name bought us launched to Professor Satya Chakkaravarthy from IIT Madras. He believed in our concept and instructed us that he discovered the idea of a fast cab service to area fairly attention-grabbing. Agnikul was mainly born at that second. 

3. What was it like within the first 12 months of being in enterprise? What are your key learnings from the early days?         

Early days had been all about determining stuff. Although Moin had run companies previously and I had networked lots with a number of startups, doing one thing in aerospace {hardware} was new to each of us. Figuring this out and getting a highway map out of the thought was the important thing problem within the first 12 months. Our key learnings included attempting to provide you with a narrative that one might give an investor, and tips on how to pitch ourselves to clients. Fortunately, we have now all the time had the help of retired ISRO scientists by Professor Chakravarthy. So, the challenges from a {hardware} entrance had been extra about implementation of the product versus the core design or technique wanted.  

4. What are the challenges in constructing area expertise within the nation? 

The principle problem was once coverage and regulation. There was no regulatory authority to license our actions earlier. However presently with the creation of IN-SPACe and coverage adjustments, we see area turning into the following massive factor in India. We as a rustic I consider are in the best place on the proper time. 

5. What was the affect of the COVID-19 disaster in your plans?    

As a {hardware} firm, it was very tough for us to handle the state of affairs with out doing any precise {hardware} testing which created an affect in our launch timeline. Through the second wave, we stopped all our Liquid oxygen primarily based testing with the intention to help the nation within the oxygen disaster. Nonetheless, as a workforce, we deliberate all actions in a phased method regardless of COVID and we efficiently certified our single piece 3D printed engine proper by the disaster. We additionally created in depth vendor databases to assist us have a number of backups in case of issues of provide chain and procurement by the disaster. 

6. During which 12 months did Agnikul Cosmos make appreciable progress? Might you supply extra particulars on what occurred by that 12 months?    

Yearly has been big in its personal method. From our begin in December 2017, annually we had been in a position to hit some significant milestone. Fortunately, if we have now to choose, 2021 has been a outstanding 12 months for us as far as we have now examined our second stage engine and likewise raised our sequence A which is India’s largest area tech funding spherical. As well as, we additionally signed an MoU with the Division of House which has pushed us a lot nearer in direction of our dream of launching from Indian soil. 

7. What merchandise have you ever constructed up to now? What are you engaged on? 

At current, we’re engaged on testing and integration of assorted subsystems of Agnibaan. We’ve got efficiently designed, realised and certified our engines. We’ve got efficiently fabricated all propulsion subsystems similar to pumps and motors and we’re actively putting orders for most of the giant elements of the car similar to tanks and structural subsystems. We’re planning for our first launch by the top of 2022. 

8. Might you assist give a way of how far Agnikul Cosmos has are available these few years? From when it started to the place it’s now.  

We included in December 2017 as a four-member workforce, now we have now near 100 members (YoY – 4, 12, 36, 50, 100) from varied backgrounds working along with a dream of creating area accessible to everybody. We’ve got raised near $15 million (roughly Rs. 112 crores)  funding raised over three years of funding yearly since 2019 ($0.5 million, $3.5 million, $11 million) and signed a MoU with India House Analysis Organisation for utilising their infrastructure and technical experience. We’ve got additionally signed agreements with supporting businesses like Leafspace for floor stations. As well as, we have now onboarded just a few clients throughout the globe to launch with us. We’re nonetheless a pre income firm with buyer Letters of Intent steadily rising through the years. 

9.   How did the ISRO partnership come about? Other than infrastructure entry, how else will it assist the enterprise?  

Agnikul is the primary firm to signal agreements with ISRO together with an MoU with ISRO (which occurred very lately). This MoU will present us entry to infrastructure for testing a number of subsystems similar to engines and avionics packages. Figuring out of ISRO amenities will give us invaluable steerage moreover accelerating our time to get the product flight prepared. As well as, we see this partnership as a significant step in permitting personal gamers in area sectors to work alongside ISRO. Additionally, this may assist us evaluate our designs with ISRO specialists. 

10. Might you communicate concerning the distinctive 3D-printing tech that you just use to construct your rockets?  

Many of the elements of our launch car are made by 3D printing. We depend on 3D printing to cut back the fabrication and turnaround time. We’ve got lately realised and certified our absolutely 3D printed, single piece and semi cryogenic engine – Agnilet. This shall be a part of the second stage of our car and it is one in every of its type on the planet. We’ve got realised the full-scalemodel and showcased it for the primary time in IAC, Dubai.  

11. Is India prepared for a space-tech revolution? How lengthy earlier than we have now firms that do work at a scale like SpaceX in India? 

With the efforts of our Honourable Prime Minister, Indian House Analysis Organisation, area is turning into the following booming factor in India. Setting may be very beneficial for area startups now and with the variety of area firms elevating funding, the day is just not up to now. Very quickly India could have its personal SpaceX up and operating. 

12. Have you considered methods by which you might scale back the price of area journey? 

We’re an area transportation firm – all the things that we do has an angle of area journey price discount. Ranging from extremely modular car designs, to environment friendly power administration programs similar to new age batteries, to engines that may be simply manufactured, we consider the price of area journey may be drastically decreased when one is ready to iterate {hardware} on the velocity of software program.  

13. What are the opposite plans for the long run?   

Future plans exist from scaling to do not less than 20-25 launches a 12 months (a launch on-demand each 2 weeks). We even have plans to make the rocket extraordinarily customisable and tailor it particularly for every satellite tv for pc’s wants – all satellites are particular sufficient to demand a rocket of their very own.  

14. How lengthy earlier than area journey turns into as frequent as air journey?  

I count on this to be taking 15 years or so in India. Globally, it might occur in seven to eight years. Three issues need to occur earlier than we get right here – A) Value of journey has to come back down meaningfully, B) Consciousness on how reachable area is ought to go up, C) Rocket Science shouldn’t be “rocket science” to get right here. Corporations similar to ourselves are engaged on all of those areas to create space transportation as frequent as air transportation. 

15. Do you have got any administration mantra/ recommendation that you just’d wish to share with future entrepreneurs?          

You will not all the time have luck however all you need to do is attempt until that time. I’ve all the time had this perception and inform my teammates as properly. Should you take a graph, and attempt to plot output vs. laborious work, generally, for a similar quantity of laborious work you’ll get extra output, you by no means know when this part will come. All you need to do is proceed with regular, constant brute drive effort and, sooner or later issues will all of the sudden be in your favour. 

16. What’s the worker power? Is Agnikul Cosmos hiring presently?  

We’re presently a 100-member workforce and we’re scaling quickly. We’re hiring individuals for varied verticals presently, please do try our careers web page for particulars and drop your resume at [email protected] too. Anybody who is actually actually good at something, has a spot at Agnikul! 


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