Indian Space Industry : Updates & Discussions

Gautam

Team StratFront
Feb 16, 2019
12,473
9,228
Tripura, NE, India
Agnikul Cosmos has a very simple launch vehicle development strategy. They are developing the Agnibaan launcher which will have 5 configurations. The configurations will depend on engine clustering. The first stage could have 4, 5, 6 or 7 engines. An optional third “baby” stage will be available too.
EgE0MH5XsAIrBSR.jpg

The elegance of their strategy is that the whole thing relies on just 1 engine named "Agnite/Agnilet". Just one engine for the whole launcher. The logistical gain from that alone would be great. Oh and the engine is a single piece 100% 3D-printed. So the engine making process is completely automated & can be sped up exponentially.

Agnite/Agnilet engine specs:
Propellant: LOX/Kerosene semi-cryogenic
Thrust: 25 kN (Sea Level)
Specific Impulse: 285 sec (Sea Level) & 355 sec (Vacuum Optimized)
Engine cycle: Gas generator (probably)
Feed: Pressure fed (for now)/Electric pump fed(soon)
Cooling: Integrated Regenerative cooling

Agnite is the world's 1st 100% 3D printed engine that has been test fired. Here is the engine just after printing:
EfW4VQ-UwAAzBp3.jpg


And this is after testing:
Agnikul-cosmos_602367fa5456d.png

Notice the discolouration, common feature of engine after a few rounds of firing. Also the threaded part on top right has cracked. The engine has been test fired multiple times at the IIT-Madras test bed:
EtxiOmdVkAAx-1x.jpg


In the initial tests the LOX was being pressure fed to simplify things. Agnikul has started making electric pumps to feed LOX recently. The pumps are >90% 3D printed.


Testing the engines with the new pumps have started. Agnikul is receiving technical support from ISRO & IIT Madras. The Agnite engine has been in development for at least 3 years. It should complete development soon.
ErlLsYBVcAIwTWd.jpg


Given the relatively modest thrust of the Agnite/Agnilet engine & the fact that its semi-cryogenic should mean the engine is highly throttleable. If that's the case then the 1st stage may be recoverable. They have already proven its repeatability in tests, meaning the recovered engines can be fired again. Pretty sure they wont be trying that on the 1st flight, but still an interesting possibility for the future.

Since the entire rocket relies on this engine, if it is ready the rocket will be ready soon after. In fact Agnikul intends to do its 1st commercial launch on 2022. They even plan to 3D print the entire rocket. Would be awesome if they can maintain that deadline even with COVID. Skyroot's Vikram I rocket also intends to have its 1st launch in mid 2022. Will write about Skyroot some other day. ISRO's SSLV will have its 1st launch on late 2021 or early 2022. So optimistically we could get 3 new small satellite launchers by next year. ISRO' NSLV could also have its 1st launch in 2022, though that has not been confirmed.

Anyway hers are 2 blog post from one of Agnikul Cosmos' founders. They are a few months old :

What really is a “single piece” rocket engine & why we make these at Agnikul? (part 1/n)


By Srinath Ravichandran

Let’s start with some basics. What is a rocket engine? In its simplest form, a rocket engine is a device that is capable of burning gases and sending them out at extremely high velocities. By Newton’s laws, gases going out of a rocket engine’s nozzle will exert an equal and opposite force on the rocket itself, thereby pushing the rocket in the other direction.

So, what are the components within a rocket engine that allow for this combustion to happen? To answer this question — we will first talk about what is really getting combusted in a rocket engine. It could be propellants stored in liquid form, gaseous form or a solid form. At least as far as Agnikul goes, we have realized semi-cryogenic liquid propulsion engines (‘Agnilet’ is the name) — so we will stick to liquid propellants, for now.

Injectors: Oxygen and fuel coming into a rocket engine have to efficiently mix to ensure uniform combustion. Then, this mixture has to become a spray of fine droplets, so that the fuel fully burns. This is achieved by what are called injectors. More on this upcoming blogs. These are extremely complex geometries that usually take 100’s of machining processes such as welding, drilling etc. to make precisely.

1629481799867.png


Injector plate: This is where all these injectors are assembled. This is painstaking work, if done manually.

Manifolds: Think of these as distribution channels. Fuel and oxygen have to be given to each of these injectors in a uniform manner. This is difficult stuff because the level of uniformity and precision expected is of the order of 0.1% of the mass coming in.

Combustion Chamber: This is where the actual burning happens.

Nozzle: This is where the gases are accelerated as they leave the engine. The faster the exit speed of the gases, the better the thrust (at least roughly speaking).

Cooling channels: This is where life gets tricky. The burning gases end up making the rocket engine extremely hot. So, need to cool the engine. Someone, very early on figured that the liquid fuel itself can be used to cool the engine — just circulate it around the engine and bring it in. There are 100s of cooling channels in a rocket engine and each one of them has to be carefully crafted.

When you make all of this in one shot and as a single component (as opposed to putting together 1000’s of components through conventional fabrication techniques such as welding, brazing etc.)we have a single piece rocket engine !

1629481855742.png

Agnilet - Agnikul’s single piece, fully 3d printed, semi-cryogenic engine. Photo date : August 2019

How to realize such an engine? Why do this at all? More will follow in the coming days…

What really is a “single piece” rocket engine & why we make these at Agnikul? (part 2/n)


By Srinath Ravichandran
1629481944383.png

Agnibaan’s 3d printed Agnilet on a thrust stand (Agnibaan is a 2 stage vehicle capable of lifting 100kgs to LEO)

Firstly, a note of thanks: It has been a painful few months for most of us in India. The second Covid wave was brutal. I want to thank the super hardworking Agnikul crew for both their incessant commitment to make hardware work and their efforts to keep each other’s spirits high in these difficult times.

Secondly, a sigh of relief: Liquid Oxygen (LOX) shortage across the country seems to have come under control. Phew. “Deep breath”! At Agnikul, we had
paused all activity involving LOX since April 21, 2021 — of course, it just did not feel right to use LOX in those times. It was a difficult decision to make as a startup but definitely was the right thing to do. Now, feels like there are hints of normalcy around.

Thirdly, a tone of childish enthusiasm: It doesn’t get better than this to make anything rocket related. With the dawn of space tourism, landing of rocket boosters, space agencies across the world supporting private missions, and just so much space buzz everywhere — I feel like I am really in the middle of an Arthur C Clarke novel which starts off casually about humans living both on earth, and in the space around it.


Now, back to topic of the blog : Last week, Agnikul’s crew successfully test fired one of our completely regeneratively cooled Agnilets. This was the third such test on the exact same piece of hardware.

For this piece of hardware, the test videos are here: Burn 1, Burn 2, Burn 3.

1629481986670.png

Image on the page left: First successful firing on this hardware. Middle : Thermal qualification burn on this hardware. Right: Repeatability burn

Product strategy: This goes on to prove a lot of things in our strategy checklist as a launch vehicle maker: rocket engines can be just single pieces of hardware — check, 3d printed hardware can be made to work at rocket engine temperatures repeatedly — check, reliable and repeatable test results in every firing is possible with single piece hardware — check, and more…

Automating engine making: One thing that we have come to realize in printing entire rocket engines since September 2019 is that, in essence, this has “automated” the process of engine making for Agnikul. There is zero assembly involved in the creation of an engine.

Zero assembly: There is a huge difference between even having a 2 piece engine (non-zero assembly) vs. having the entire engine as just a single piece of hardware (zero assembly). Having more than 2 pieces or more to put together to make a full engine could imply — involved assembly, tedious human intervention, potential for error prone manufacturing to name a few.

All that said, we are gearing up for more engine firing soon, as we further tune these for flight. I will keep the updates coming!

If you are curious about the first part of this blog, you can find it here.

PS : Since high school, engines of all kinds have appealed to me. Engines, just like electric motors, are human made tools to convert one form of energy to another in order to make things work. To know that such systems can be created make me super excited. It feels like nature is cutting our species some slack to play around a bit. I am now ever so humbled & feel very grateful to be building engines at Agnikul, with our incredible crew.
 

jetray

Well-Known member
Mar 15, 2018
1,472
950
India
Agnikul Cosmos has a very simple launch vehicle development strategy. They are developing the Agnibaan launcher which will have 5 configurations. The configurations will depend on engine clustering. The first stage could have 4, 5, 6 or 7 engines. An optional third “baby” stage will be available too.
View attachment 20619
The elegance of their strategy is that the whole thing relies on just 1 engine named "Agnite/Agnilet". Just one engine for the whole launcher. The logistical gain from that alone would be great. Oh and the engine is a single piece 100% 3D-printed. So the engine making process is completely automated & can be sped up exponentially.

Agnite/Agnilet engine specs:
Propellant: LOX/Kerosene semi-cryogenic
Thrust: 25 kN (Sea Level)
Specific Impulse: 285 sec (Sea Level) & 355 sec (Vacuum Optimized)
Engine cycle: Gas generator (probably)
Feed: Pressure fed (for now)/Electric pump fed(soon)
Cooling: Integrated Regenerative cooling

Agnite is the world's 1st 100% 3D printed engine that has been test fired. Here is the engine just after printing:
View attachment 20618

And this is after testing:
View attachment 20620
Notice the discolouration, common feature of engine after a few rounds of firing. Also the threaded part on top right has cracked. The engine has been test fired multiple times at the IIT-Madras test bed:
View attachment 20616

In the initial tests the LOX was being pressure fed to simplify things. Agnikul has started making electric pumps to feed LOX recently. The pumps are >90% 3D printed.


Testing the engines with the new pumps have started. Agnikul is receiving technical support from ISRO & IIT Madras. The Agnite engine has been in development for at least 3 years. It should complete development soon.
View attachment 20617

Given the relatively modest thrust of the Agnite/Agnilet engine & the fact that its semi-cryogenic should mean the engine is highly throttleable. If that's the case then the 1st stage may be recoverable. They have already proven its repeatability in tests, meaning the recovered engines can be fired again. Pretty sure they wont be trying that on the 1st flight, but still an interesting possibility for the future.

Since the entire rocket relies on this engine, if it is ready the rocket will be ready soon after. In fact Agnikul intends to do its 1st commercial launch on 2022. They even plan to 3D print the entire rocket. Would be awesome if they can maintain that deadline even with COVID. Skyroot's Vikram I rocket also intends to have its 1st launch in mid 2022. Will write about Skyroot some other day. ISRO's SSLV will have its 1st launch on late 2021 or early 2022. So optimistically we could get 3 new small satellite launchers by next year. ISRO' NSLV could also have its 1st launch in 2022, though that has not been confirmed.

Anyway hers are 2 blog post from one of Agnikul Cosmos' founders. They are a few months old :

What really is a “single piece” rocket engine & why we make these at Agnikul? (part 1/n)


By Srinath Ravichandran

Let’s start with some basics. What is a rocket engine? In its simplest form, a rocket engine is a device that is capable of burning gases and sending them out at extremely high velocities. By Newton’s laws, gases going out of a rocket engine’s nozzle will exert an equal and opposite force on the rocket itself, thereby pushing the rocket in the other direction.

So, what are the components within a rocket engine that allow for this combustion to happen? To answer this question — we will first talk about what is really getting combusted in a rocket engine. It could be propellants stored in liquid form, gaseous form or a solid form. At least as far as Agnikul goes, we have realized semi-cryogenic liquid propulsion engines (‘Agnilet’ is the name) — so we will stick to liquid propellants, for now.

Injectors: Oxygen and fuel coming into a rocket engine have to efficiently mix to ensure uniform combustion. Then, this mixture has to become a spray of fine droplets, so that the fuel fully burns. This is achieved by what are called injectors. More on this upcoming blogs. These are extremely complex geometries that usually take 100’s of machining processes such as welding, drilling etc. to make precisely.

View attachment 20612

Injector plate: This is where all these injectors are assembled. This is painstaking work, if done manually.

Manifolds: Think of these as distribution channels. Fuel and oxygen have to be given to each of these injectors in a uniform manner. This is difficult stuff because the level of uniformity and precision expected is of the order of 0.1% of the mass coming in.

Combustion Chamber: This is where the actual burning happens.

Nozzle: This is where the gases are accelerated as they leave the engine. The faster the exit speed of the gases, the better the thrust (at least roughly speaking).

Cooling channels: This is where life gets tricky. The burning gases end up making the rocket engine extremely hot. So, need to cool the engine. Someone, very early on figured that the liquid fuel itself can be used to cool the engine — just circulate it around the engine and bring it in. There are 100s of cooling channels in a rocket engine and each one of them has to be carefully crafted.

When you make all of this in one shot and as a single component (as opposed to putting together 1000’s of components through conventional fabrication techniques such as welding, brazing etc.)we have a single piece rocket engine !

View attachment 20613
Agnilet - Agnikul’s single piece, fully 3d printed, semi-cryogenic engine. Photo date : August 2019

How to realize such an engine? Why do this at all? More will follow in the coming days…

What really is a “single piece” rocket engine & why we make these at Agnikul? (part 2/n)


By Srinath Ravichandran
View attachment 20614
Agnibaan’s 3d printed Agnilet on a thrust stand (Agnibaan is a 2 stage vehicle capable of lifting 100kgs to LEO)

Firstly, a note of thanks: It has been a painful few months for most of us in India. The second Covid wave was brutal. I want to thank the super hardworking Agnikul crew for both their incessant commitment to make hardware work and their efforts to keep each other’s spirits high in these difficult times.

Secondly, a sigh of relief: Liquid Oxygen (LOX) shortage across the country seems to have come under control. Phew. “Deep breath”! At Agnikul, we had
paused all activity involving LOX since April 21, 2021 — of course, it just did not feel right to use LOX in those times. It was a difficult decision to make as a startup but definitely was the right thing to do. Now, feels like there are hints of normalcy around.

Thirdly, a tone of childish enthusiasm: It doesn’t get better than this to make anything rocket related. With the dawn of space tourism, landing of rocket boosters, space agencies across the world supporting private missions, and just so much space buzz everywhere — I feel like I am really in the middle of an Arthur C Clarke novel which starts off casually about humans living both on earth, and in the space around it.


Now, back to topic of the blog : Last week, Agnikul’s crew successfully test fired one of our completely regeneratively cooled Agnilets. This was the third such test on the exact same piece of hardware.

For this piece of hardware, the test videos are here: Burn 1, Burn 2, Burn 3.

View attachment 20615
Image on the page left: First successful firing on this hardware. Middle : Thermal qualification burn on this hardware. Right: Repeatability burn

Product strategy: This goes on to prove a lot of things in our strategy checklist as a launch vehicle maker: rocket engines can be just single pieces of hardware — check, 3d printed hardware can be made to work at rocket engine temperatures repeatedly — check, reliable and repeatable test results in every firing is possible with single piece hardware — check, and more…

Automating engine making: One thing that we have come to realize in printing entire rocket engines since September 2019 is that, in essence, this has “automated” the process of engine making for Agnikul. There is zero assembly involved in the creation of an engine.

Zero assembly: There is a huge difference between even having a 2 piece engine (non-zero assembly) vs. having the entire engine as just a single piece of hardware (zero assembly). Having more than 2 pieces or more to put together to make a full engine could imply — involved assembly, tedious human intervention, potential for error prone manufacturing to name a few.

All that said, we are gearing up for more engine firing soon, as we further tune these for flight. I will keep the updates coming!

If you are curious about the first part of this blog, you can find it here.

PS : Since high school, engines of all kinds have appealed to me. Engines, just like electric motors, are human made tools to convert one form of energy to another in order to make things work. To know that such systems can be created make me super excited. It feels like nature is cutting our species some slack to play around a bit. I am now ever so humbled & feel very grateful to be building engines at Agnikul, with our incredible crew.
great, private sector participation will bring in more & better talent to the industry.
 

Gautam

Team StratFront
Feb 16, 2019
12,473
9,228
Tripura, NE, India
2 new Indian private space start ups

OrbitX India Aerospace Company was founded in 2020 by Mr. R. Singh in Rajasthan. The company entered the arena with the ATAL-1 rocket, a two-stage liquid-fueled fully Reusable Launch Vehicle which is being designed to send small satellites into LEO. The company claims that the ATAL-1 will be vastly cheaper to build and operate.

The rocket is named after former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee:
1629709269450.png

The 1st stage, named RATAN, will probably be semi-cryogenic & have at least 3 engines & 4 landing legs & grid fins. The 2nd stage will be cryogenic. From the looks of it there will also be a ATAL-2 rocket in the future.

For Hindi speakers:


The news presenter says: "ObitX is developing ATAL-1 & 2 rockets. ATAL-1 has completed its design phase & they are about to begin stage testing. The Indian govt. has opened up the space sector & is encouraging Indian space start ups. OrbitX is the 1st space start up from Rajasthan. OrbitX will launch their RL rocket from ISRO's SDSC-SHAR launch port..................OrbitX is incubated at Balaji Engineering College in Jaipur, Rajasthan & have so far used the college's facilities & open spaces in campus for R&D work...........According to sources OrbitX will build their rockets in Jaipur"

By RL the news presenter probably means Re-usable Launcher. If they have access to ISRO's SDSC-SHAR facility then they have an non-disclosure agreement with ISRO. ISRO will probably help them in the development of launchers as they are doing for Agnikul & Skyroot.

So they will build rockets in Jaipur but launch the form SDSC-SHAR. That sounds like a logistical nightmare.


OrbitX recently signed an agreement with Lakshya Space, which is another Indian space start up, for establishment of a joint rocket testing laboratory. This agreement eventually led to the upcoming joint test of Lakshaya Space's Lakshya Mk-1 rocket. The test launch happen next month & will be monitored by ISRO. It will prove some of the technologies developed by OritX.


The Lakshya Mk-1 is a fully 3-D printed rocket. The rocket is smaller than ISRO's smallest sounding rocket.
1629710719770.png

The landing gear of the RATAN has a slide down mechanism. Strange but unique.
1629710379361.png

Their vertical landing tech will be tested through a prototype named RS-1. The experimental flights will happen between 2021-23. The actual launcher will fly in 2023.
1629709244642.png


They will inaugurate their rocket development & production centre in Jaipur, Rajasthan in less than 2 months.


E9O3W2XVUAsozpH.jpg


According to the company's website the 1st flight of ATAL-1 rocket is scheduled for December 2021, less than 4 months from now. The news did say the ATAL-1 had completed development & the graphics above shows the RS-1 prototype will start flight tests by 2021. I wonder which one will it be ATAL-1 or RS-1. Either way if they can meet that deadline they will become the 1st Indian pvt space company to launch a rocket.

Unfortunately the news lady does not talk about engines. The company was incorporated in October 2020 & in a year they have developed fully throttle-able reusable liquid engines ?!?! Very difficult to believe. Rockets aren't that easy.

Did ISRO hand over their L40/ADMIRE rockets to them ? Not an impossible scenario. Remember HAL working with start up NewSpace for the CATS project. Why can't ISRO work with a start up on the ADMIRE project ?
1629715505227.png

Either way a lot of space start ups getting into making small satellite launchers. ISRO's large suppliers like L&T, Godrej, HAL etc. weren't nimble enough to get into this bandwagon. They will probably simply acquire these start ups once these start ups prove their technology Interesting times ahead.
 

Gautam

Team StratFront
Feb 16, 2019
12,473
9,228
Tripura, NE, India
Agnikul Cosmos has a very simple launch vehicle development strategy. They are developing the Agnibaan launcher which will have 5 configurations. The configurations will depend on engine clustering. The first stage could have 4, 5, 6 or 7 engines. An optional third “baby” stage will be available too.
View attachment 20619
The elegance of their strategy is that the whole thing relies on just 1 engine named "Agnite/Agnilet". Just one engine for the whole launcher. The logistical gain from that alone would be great. Oh and the engine is a single piece 100% 3D-printed. So the engine making process is completely automated & can be sped up exponentially.

Agnite/Agnilet engine specs:
Propellant: LOX/Kerosene semi-cryogenic
Thrust: 25 kN (Sea Level)
Specific Impulse: 285 sec (Sea Level) & 355 sec (Vacuum Optimized)
Engine cycle: Gas generator (probably)
Feed: Pressure fed (for now)/Electric pump fed(soon)
Cooling: Integrated Regenerative cooling

Agnite is the world's 1st 100% 3D printed engine that has been test fired. Here is the engine just after printing:
View attachment 20618

And this is after testing:
View attachment 20620
Notice the discolouration, common feature of engine after a few rounds of firing. Also the threaded part on top right has cracked. The engine has been test fired multiple times at the IIT-Madras test bed:
View attachment 20616

In the initial tests the LOX was being pressure fed to simplify things. Agnikul has started making electric pumps to feed LOX recently. The pumps are >90% 3D printed.


Testing the engines with the new pumps have started. Agnikul is receiving technical support from ISRO & IIT Madras. The Agnite engine has been in development for at least 3 years. It should complete development soon.
View attachment 20617

Given the relatively modest thrust of the Agnite/Agnilet engine & the fact that its semi-cryogenic should mean the engine is highly throttleable. If that's the case then the 1st stage may be recoverable. They have already proven its repeatability in tests, meaning the recovered engines can be fired again. Pretty sure they wont be trying that on the 1st flight, but still an interesting possibility for the future.

Since the entire rocket relies on this engine, if it is ready the rocket will be ready soon after. In fact Agnikul intends to do its 1st commercial launch on 2022. They even plan to 3D print the entire rocket. Would be awesome if they can maintain that deadline even with COVID. Skyroot's Vikram I rocket also intends to have its 1st launch in mid 2022. Will write about Skyroot some other day. ISRO's SSLV will have its 1st launch on late 2021 or early 2022. So optimistically we could get 3 new small satellite launchers by next year. ISRO' NSLV could also have its 1st launch in 2022, though that has not been confirmed.

Anyway hers are 2 blog post from one of Agnikul Cosmos' founders. They are a few months old :

What really is a “single piece” rocket engine & why we make these at Agnikul? (part 1/n)


By Srinath Ravichandran

Let’s start with some basics. What is a rocket engine? In its simplest form, a rocket engine is a device that is capable of burning gases and sending them out at extremely high velocities. By Newton’s laws, gases going out of a rocket engine’s nozzle will exert an equal and opposite force on the rocket itself, thereby pushing the rocket in the other direction.

So, what are the components within a rocket engine that allow for this combustion to happen? To answer this question — we will first talk about what is really getting combusted in a rocket engine. It could be propellants stored in liquid form, gaseous form or a solid form. At least as far as Agnikul goes, we have realized semi-cryogenic liquid propulsion engines (‘Agnilet’ is the name) — so we will stick to liquid propellants, for now.

Injectors: Oxygen and fuel coming into a rocket engine have to efficiently mix to ensure uniform combustion. Then, this mixture has to become a spray of fine droplets, so that the fuel fully burns. This is achieved by what are called injectors. More on this upcoming blogs. These are extremely complex geometries that usually take 100’s of machining processes such as welding, drilling etc. to make precisely.

View attachment 20612

Injector plate: This is where all these injectors are assembled. This is painstaking work, if done manually.

Manifolds: Think of these as distribution channels. Fuel and oxygen have to be given to each of these injectors in a uniform manner. This is difficult stuff because the level of uniformity and precision expected is of the order of 0.1% of the mass coming in.

Combustion Chamber: This is where the actual burning happens.

Nozzle: This is where the gases are accelerated as they leave the engine. The faster the exit speed of the gases, the better the thrust (at least roughly speaking).

Cooling channels: This is where life gets tricky. The burning gases end up making the rocket engine extremely hot. So, need to cool the engine. Someone, very early on figured that the liquid fuel itself can be used to cool the engine — just circulate it around the engine and bring it in. There are 100s of cooling channels in a rocket engine and each one of them has to be carefully crafted.

When you make all of this in one shot and as a single component (as opposed to putting together 1000’s of components through conventional fabrication techniques such as welding, brazing etc.)we have a single piece rocket engine !

View attachment 20613
Agnilet - Agnikul’s single piece, fully 3d printed, semi-cryogenic engine. Photo date : August 2019

How to realize such an engine? Why do this at all? More will follow in the coming days…

What really is a “single piece” rocket engine & why we make these at Agnikul? (part 2/n)


By Srinath Ravichandran
View attachment 20614
Agnibaan’s 3d printed Agnilet on a thrust stand (Agnibaan is a 2 stage vehicle capable of lifting 100kgs to LEO)

Firstly, a note of thanks: It has been a painful few months for most of us in India. The second Covid wave was brutal. I want to thank the super hardworking Agnikul crew for both their incessant commitment to make hardware work and their efforts to keep each other’s spirits high in these difficult times.

Secondly, a sigh of relief: Liquid Oxygen (LOX) shortage across the country seems to have come under control. Phew. “Deep breath”! At Agnikul, we had
paused all activity involving LOX since April 21, 2021 — of course, it just did not feel right to use LOX in those times. It was a difficult decision to make as a startup but definitely was the right thing to do. Now, feels like there are hints of normalcy around.

Thirdly, a tone of childish enthusiasm: It doesn’t get better than this to make anything rocket related. With the dawn of space tourism, landing of rocket boosters, space agencies across the world supporting private missions, and just so much space buzz everywhere — I feel like I am really in the middle of an Arthur C Clarke novel which starts off casually about humans living both on earth, and in the space around it.


Now, back to topic of the blog : Last week, Agnikul’s crew successfully test fired one of our completely regeneratively cooled Agnilets. This was the third such test on the exact same piece of hardware.

For this piece of hardware, the test videos are here: Burn 1, Burn 2, Burn 3.

View attachment 20615
Image on the page left: First successful firing on this hardware. Middle : Thermal qualification burn on this hardware. Right: Repeatability burn

Product strategy: This goes on to prove a lot of things in our strategy checklist as a launch vehicle maker: rocket engines can be just single pieces of hardware — check, 3d printed hardware can be made to work at rocket engine temperatures repeatedly — check, reliable and repeatable test results in every firing is possible with single piece hardware — check, and more…

Automating engine making: One thing that we have come to realize in printing entire rocket engines since September 2019 is that, in essence, this has “automated” the process of engine making for Agnikul. There is zero assembly involved in the creation of an engine.

Zero assembly: There is a huge difference between even having a 2 piece engine (non-zero assembly) vs. having the entire engine as just a single piece of hardware (zero assembly). Having more than 2 pieces or more to put together to make a full engine could imply — involved assembly, tedious human intervention, potential for error prone manufacturing to name a few.

All that said, we are gearing up for more engine firing soon, as we further tune these for flight. I will keep the updates coming!

If you are curious about the first part of this blog, you can find it here.

PS : Since high school, engines of all kinds have appealed to me. Engines, just like electric motors, are human made tools to convert one form of energy to another in order to make things work. To know that such systems can be created make me super excited. It feels like nature is cutting our species some slack to play around a bit. I am now ever so humbled & feel very grateful to be building engines at Agnikul, with our incredible crew.

India's rocket startup Agnikul to buy EOS' 3D printer for making engines

IANS | Aug 26, 2021, 11:58 IST

CHENNAI: India's rocket startup Agnikul Cosmos has decided to go in for a 3D printing machine to make the engines for its Agnibaan rocket, said a top company official.

"We are buying the 3D printing machine from the German company EOS. This will help in manufacturing our rocket engines and subsystems at a shorter time," Srinath Ravichandran, Co-Founder and CEO, Agnikul told IANS.

The German company EOS is a global major in 3D printing technology based in Germany with Indian operations since 1998.

The company has more than 90 EOS machine installations in India and works closely with various organisations like Aerospace, Medical, Defence and Industrial customers.

"Every Agnibaan rocket will have eight engines. The 3D printing machine will enable us to produce the engines quickly than getting the work done outside," Ravichandran said.

According to him, the company can make the eight engines in two weeks' time with 3D printing technology.

"Owning engine making end-to-end in-house allows for significant process efficiencies and enables the making of an entire engine including the plumbing systems involved in less than 72 hours, thereby removing a large amount of the complexity one usually associates with liquid propellant engines," Ravichandran added.

Declining to share the price of the 3D printing machine due to non-disclosure norms Ravichandran said Agnikul would install an EOS M400-4 printer in its facilities and will take EOS' Additive minds technical support in advancing 3D printing of rocket engines all the way to space qualification.

"The machine is one of the largest. Our agreement also includes supply of some raw materials by EOS," he added.

Ravichandran said the company may go for additional 3D printing machines once demand for Agnibaan rockets picks up to launch satellites.
"Agnikul has been printing and testing engines at a smaller scale since 2018. Last year, we became the first company to fire a single-piece, fully 3D printed rocket engine printed on EOS 3D Printer. This strategic partnership with EOS will elevate our efforts to strategise on efficient and advanced 3D printing techniques to build world-class space technology in India," Moin SPM, Co-founder, and COO, Agnikul said.

"As more and more companies start using 3D printing for their realization needs, we are trying to ensure that we play the role of a supporting partner as opposed to being just a vendor and in the process encourage widespread adoption of 3D printing as a mainstream manufacturing technique" said Anand Prakasam, Country Head, EOS India.

Ravichandran said Agnikul is recruiting talent after raising $11 million in a Series A funding in May 2021. The funding round was led by Mayfield India, making it the largest funding round for a private Indian space technology company in India.

While in March 2020, Agnikul had raised Rs 23.4 crore ($3.1 Mn) in a Pre-Series A funding from institutional investors - pi Ventures, Hari Kumar (LionRock Capital), Artha Venture Fund, LetsVenture, Globevestor, CIIE, and Speciale Invest and the seed round of funding from Speciale Invest in 2019.

India's rocket startup Agnikul to buy EOS' 3D printer for making engines - Times of India

They are increasing engine count to 8 now ? Previously it was stated the the 1st stage would have at most 7 engines. I wonder if they are doing this to reduce risks or increase performance.
 

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Adani, L&T among those in race for PSLV contract


By Chethan Kumar / TNN / Updated: Aug 27, 2021, 08:28 IST
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BENGALURU: Three entities — two consortia and a single firm — including an Adani-led group and another with L&T are in the race for the PSLV contract, which will, for the first time, see entities outside of ISRO build a launch vehicle end-to-end.

The contract will be for building five launch vehicles and multiple sources confirmed to TOI that the three entities, on July 30, submitted their bids in response to an RFP (request for proposal) issued by New Space India Limited (NSIL).

A space-PSU operating under the department of space (DoS), NSIL was initially conceived to be a commercial arm of ISRO, and later mandated with productionising launch vehicles, owning satellites and more.

As reported first by TOI in August 2019, NSIL had announced an expression of interest (EoI) for five PSLVs to which five entities had responded. The RFP for the same was then issued in December 2020.

“There were five players who responded to the EOI; three have submitted bids after the RFP just over three weeks ago,” a senior official said.
A consortium of HAL and L&T, another comprising Adani-Alpha Design, BEL and BEML are the two group entities, while BHEL has bid as a single firm. As per DoS, the contract will not only boost the Make-in-India initiative of the government, but will also enhance ISRO’s ability to launch more satellites each year.

NSIL chairman and managing director Radhakrishnan D, said: “The techno-commercial evaluation is underway, after which the bids will be opened. We are hopeful of completing the whole process in a couple of months, and cannot comment on anything more at this juncture.”

One of the sources said that the contract is expected to be awarded by the end of this year and the selected entity will be a licenced producer.


While ISRO has always worked closely with the industry — any PSLV launch sees more than 150 industries, big and small, contribute to the vehicle — this is for the first time that it will be completely built by the industry.

The PSLV, which had its first flight in September 1993, has been ISRO’s workhorse having completed more than 50 launch missions over 25 years and the new initiative is.

NSIL, whose mandate has been expanded to own and operate capital-intensive assets — satellites and launch vehicles — has plans of investing around Rs 10,000 crore over the next five years. The PSU, which has a paid up capital of Rs 10 crore and an authorised capital of Rs 100 crore, was allocated Rs 700 crore by the Centre in the 2021-22 budget.

In 2019-20, NSIL earned a revenue of around Rs 300 crore and while the official figures for 2020-21 are not out yet, the company was confident of more than Rs 300-crore.

Adani, L&T among those in race for PSLV contract | India News - Times of India
 
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Just 5 PSLVs are being ordered !?! That's disappointing. Given the extensive use of solid stages the PSLV can be manufactured in numbers & stored for long periods without any problems. I thought the entire point of private manufacturing is increasing the scale of production & thus improve our launch frequency.

May be 5 is just a "testing the waters" kind of deal. To see if higher production rate can be achieved. I hope so. ISRO is targeting 6-8 PSLV launches per year from 2021, 8-12 launches from 2022 & 12-18 launches per year from 2024. For this you need 26-40 PSLVs in 3-4 years, so a rate of production of around 10 a year need to be aimed for. The ramping up of production line will also take a few years.

Among the participants the HAL-L&T JV has the most amount of experience & Adani-Alpha has no experience at all. HAL-L&T will probably end up winning. The winner should be selected by the end of this year.
 

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Skyroot Aerospace first spacetech startup to formally sign up with ISRO

By ET Bureau
Sep 11, 2021, 06:18 PM IST
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Skyroot Aerospace, founded by former ISRO scientists, is building the Vikram series of rockets to carry small satellites into space. (Photo for representational purposes only)

Synopsis
Skyroot Aerospace has entered into an agreement with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to use its expertise and access facilities to test and qualify its small rocket ahead of launch next year.


Bengaluru: Skyroot Aerospace, a Hyderabad-based space technology startup, has become the first private company to formally enter into an agreement with ISRO to use its expertise and access facilities to test and qualify its small rocket ahead of launch next year.

"The Framework MoU will allow the company to undertake multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centres and avail the technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying their space launch vehicle systems and subsystems," the Indian Space Research Organisation said on Saturday.

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In a major milestone, we successfully completed the Proof Pressure Test (PPT) of Vikram-1's 3rd stage 'Kalam-100'. This ultra-light & high-strength carbon composite case was tested to 66 atmospheres of pressure. Source: Skyroot Aerospace's Instagram page.

Skyroot, founded by former ISRO scientists, is building the Vikram series of rockets to carry small satellites into space. The startup has already test fired its solid propulsion rocket engine named Kalam-5, whose bigger version will power its rockets.

Skyroot is backed by the promoters of renewable energy firm Greenko Group, explosives manufacturer and ISRO supplier Solar Industries and Curefit founder Mukesh Bansal.

Skyroot and other rocket startups such as Agnikul Cosmos and Bellatrix Aerospace are looking at the growing global opportunity to build rockets and launch small satellites from Indian soil.

Chennai-based Agnikul Cosmos had signed a non-disclosure agreement last year to test and qualify its small rocket that can launch 100 kg satellites into low earth orbit. A formal agreement is expected soon. Agnikul founder and CEO Srinath Ravichandran and ISRO scientific secretary R Umamaheswaran signed the pact.

The agreement was signed on Saturday by R Umamaheswaran, scientific secretary at ISRO and chairman at Interim IN-SPACe Committee, and Pawan Chandana, who is the CEO of Skyroot Aerospace.

India has formed IN-SPACe, the authorisation and regulatory body under the Department of Space for enabling private players to undertake space activities in the country.

Skyroot Aerospace first spacetech startup to formally sign up with ISRO - The Economic Times

Framework MoU signed with M/s Skyroot

Sep 11, 2021

Department of Space has today, September 11, 2021 entered into a Framework MoU with M/s Skyroot Aerospace Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of Space Launch Vehicles. The Framework MoU will enable the company for undertaking multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centers and also enable to avail technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying their space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.

mou_skyroot.jpg


On the occasion, M/s Skyroot representatives also met Dr K Sivan, Secretary, DOS/ Chairman, ISRO and presented the status of activities. Dr K Sivan, appreciated M/s Skyroot team and assured all support for successfully realising their launch vehicle. Shri R Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Chairman, Interim IN-SPACe Committee, signed the Framework MoU on behalf of DOS and Mr. Pawan Chandana, CEO, M/s Skyroot Aerospace signed the Framework MoU from the company side.

Framework MoU signed with M/s Skyroot - ISRO
 

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Inauguration of Bellatrix Aerospace laboratory​

Sep 15, 2021

Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO/ Secretary, DOS inaugurated the spacecraft research laboratory at M/s Bellatrix Aerospace, the startup company inside IISc, Bangalore. This privately funded propulsion lab has in-house facilities for development and testing of electric and green chemical propulsion technologies. Dr Sivan appreciated the young team for establishing the state-of-the art facility which houses equipment such as integrated thermal high vacuum test facilities, catalytic reactors, propellant preparation facilities, specialized high temperature coating facilities, etc. Chairman, ISRO also witnessed the firing of Hall Thruster at the facility.

bellatrix_aerospace_laboratory_iisc_1.jpg

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bellatrix_aerospace_laboratory_iisc_3.jpg


Inauguration of Bellatrix Aerospace laboratory - ISRO
 

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Framework MoU signed with M/s Agnikul

Sep 17, 2021
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Department of Space has today, September 17, 2021 entered into a Framework MoU with M/s Agnikul Cosmos Pvt. Ltd., Chennai for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of Space Launch Vehicles. The Framework MoU was concluded in consultation with Dr. Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman, IN-SPACe Board and this will enable the company for undertaking multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centers for testing and qualification of their single piece 3D printed Semi Cryo engine and other systems. The MoU also enable Agnikul to avail technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying their space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.

On the occasion, M/s Agnikul representatives also met Dr K Sivan, Secretary, DOS/ Chairman, ISRO and presented the progress of activities. While appreciating the young team, Dr K Sivan also assured all support from DOS for qualifying Agnikul launch vehicle systems. Shri R Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Chairman, Interim IN-SPACe Committee, signed the Framework MoU on behalf of DOS and Mr Srinath Ravichandran, CEO, M/s Agnikul signed the Framework MoU from the company side.

Framework MoU signed with M/s Agnikul - ISRO
 

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Indian industry to produce two more entire rockets

The government plans to realise entirely-built rockets -- GSLV-Mk III and SSLV -- from Indian industry partners, in addition to PSLV.

Press Trust of India, Bengaluru
September 19, 2021
UPDATED: September 19, 2021 15:13 IST
2liftoff.jpg

NSIL has received three bids -- HAL-L&T, BEL-Adani-BEML, and BHEL, in response to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by it for end-to-end production of PSLV.

The Department of Space (DoS) plans to realise entirely-built rockets -- GSLV-Mk III and SSLV -- from Indian industry partners, in addition to PSLV, according to a top official of its commercial arm NSIL.

NSIL (NewSpace India Limited) has received three bids -- HAL-L&T, BEL-Adani-BEML, and BHEL, in response to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by it for end-to-end production of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle).

"We are now going through the techno-commercial evaluation (in respect of the three bids)", NSIL Chairman and Managing Director, Radhakrishnan D, told PTI in Bengaluru.

He said the process will be completed within the next two months with one of the bidders bagging the contract. The selected bidder will be responsible for realisation of five numbers of PSLV.

Immediately after selection of the bidder to produce the entire PSLV, NSIL will release Expression of Interest (EOI) for end-to-end production of another operational rocket -- GSLV-Mk III (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) -- in a similar fashion, Radhakrishnan said.

"I am targeting before the end of this year (to release EOI for GSLV-Mk III)", he said.

NSIL also has plans to realise SSLV (Small Satellite Launch Vehicle), being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the first development flight expected by this year-end, through Indian industry partners.

"We are waiting for the first mission (of SSLV) to happen successfully", Radhakrishnan said. "This (SSLV) will be an ideal candidate for industry production".


SSLV is a three-stage all solid vehicle and has a capability to launch up to 500 kg satellite mass into 500 km low earth orbit (LEO) and 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

The new generation compact rocket has been designed to meet "launch on demand" requirements in a cost-effective manner for small satellites in a dedicated and rideshare mode, according to officials of Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO.

Industrialisation of space activities is gaining momentum in India.

About 40 space startups and industries are in consultation with ISRO for support related to various domains of space activity such as development of satellites, launch vehicles, develop applications and provide space-based services.

India's Foreign Direct Investment policy in the space sector is also getting revised which, the ISRO Chairman and DoS Secretary K Sivan believe, will open up huge avenues for foreign companies to invest in the country.

Earlier this month, the DoS entered into a Framework MoU with two spacetech startups -- Skyroot Aerospace and Agnikul Cosmos -- for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of space launch vehicles.

Indian industry to produce two more entire rockets
 

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Indian industry to produce two more entire rockets

The government plans to realise entirely-built rockets -- GSLV-Mk III and SSLV -- from Indian industry partners, in addition to PSLV.

Press Trust of India, Bengaluru
September 19, 2021
UPDATED: September 19, 2021 15:13 IST
View attachment 21060
NSIL has received three bids -- HAL-L&T, BEL-Adani-BEML, and BHEL, in response to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by it for end-to-end production of PSLV.

The Department of Space (DoS) plans to realise entirely-built rockets -- GSLV-Mk III and SSLV -- from Indian industry partners, in addition to PSLV, according to a top official of its commercial arm NSIL.

NSIL (NewSpace India Limited) has received three bids -- HAL-L&T, BEL-Adani-BEML, and BHEL, in response to the request for proposal (RFP) floated by it for end-to-end production of PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle).

"We are now going through the techno-commercial evaluation (in respect of the three bids)", NSIL Chairman and Managing Director, Radhakrishnan D, told PTI in Bengaluru.

He said the process will be completed within the next two months with one of the bidders bagging the contract. The selected bidder will be responsible for realisation of five numbers of PSLV.

Immediately after selection of the bidder to produce the entire PSLV, NSIL will release Expression of Interest (EOI) for end-to-end production of another operational rocket -- GSLV-Mk III (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) -- in a similar fashion, Radhakrishnan said.

"I am targeting before the end of this year (to release EOI for GSLV-Mk III)", he said.

NSIL also has plans to realise SSLV (Small Satellite Launch Vehicle), being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the first development flight expected by this year-end, through Indian industry partners.

"We are waiting for the first mission (of SSLV) to happen successfully", Radhakrishnan said. "This (SSLV) will be an ideal candidate for industry production".


SSLV is a three-stage all solid vehicle and has a capability to launch up to 500 kg satellite mass into 500 km low earth orbit (LEO) and 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

The new generation compact rocket has been designed to meet "launch on demand" requirements in a cost-effective manner for small satellites in a dedicated and rideshare mode, according to officials of Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO.

Industrialisation of space activities is gaining momentum in India.

About 40 space startups and industries are in consultation with ISRO for support related to various domains of space activity such as development of satellites, launch vehicles, develop applications and provide space-based services.

India's Foreign Direct Investment policy in the space sector is also getting revised which, the ISRO Chairman and DoS Secretary K Sivan believe, will open up huge avenues for foreign companies to invest in the country.

Earlier this month, the DoS entered into a Framework MoU with two spacetech startups -- Skyroot Aerospace and Agnikul Cosmos -- for access to ISRO facilities and expertise towards the development and testing of subsystems/systems of space launch vehicles.

Indian industry to produce two more entire rockets

So the production of the SSLV, PSLV & GSLV Mk3 will be privatized. Initially with hand holding orders, once technical capacity & infrastructure has been set up hopefully larger orders can come in.

ISRO NSLV is still in design phase so it is not being discussed yet. That leaves the GSLV Mk2. The only rocket in active service which is not going to be produced by industry. The future of the launcher is uncertain especially with the recent failure. The Mk2 might be retired, though probably not before the GSLV Mk3 production ramps up & the launcher becomes more readily available.
 
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In a 1st, GSLV-Mk3 may launch commercial satellites; NSIL mulls allowing private players to build rocket

By Chethan Kumar / TNN / Oct 8, 2021, 23:12 IST
1633805779809.png

The GSLV-Mk3 rocket of ISRO.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has, for the first time, got inquiries for launching commercial satellites on its most powerful launch vehicle — the GSLV-MK3.

According to multiple sources in the Department of Space (DoS), the first launch may happen as early as the beginning of next year and the “announcement about the same is expected very soon”.

“...There are inquiries, and the DoS is in advanced stages of discussions with one major player for commercial launches. At this juncture, we cannot name the company/companies. But I can say this is a major project,” a source said.

So far, all of DoS’ commercial launches have been carried out by its workhorse PSLV. In the past decade or so, the PSLV has put into orbit nearly 320 foreign satellites and earned a foreign exchange revenue of multiple million dollars. In the past few years, ISRO has been looking at leveraging the more powerful class of rockets — the GSLV family — for commercial launches but with no success.

“Although we’ve been looking at using GSLV for commercial launches, we had not put it out there until now. And after this project is materialised, you will see a lot more GSLV-Mk3 commercial launches,” another source said.Mk-3 to be made by industry

In a separate development, space PSU NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), which has been mandated with producing launch vehicles, is also looking to issue an expression of interest (EoI) for GSLV-Mk3, enabling private players to build the rocket.

NSIL is at present in the process of evaluating bids for bids submitted by industry players — one by a consortium of HAL and L&T, the second by a consortium comprising Adani-Alpha Design, BEL and BEML and the third by BHEL as a single firm. NSIL CMD Radhakrishnan D told TOI once the process involving PSLV is completed, they will issue the EoI for GSLV-Mk3. “We are specifically looking at Mk-3 and not other GSLV class of launch vehicles.”

While the contract for five PSLV launch vehicles is likely to be signed by the end of this year, NSIL is yet to announce a specific timeline for kickstarting the GSLV-MK3 production.

Senior officials from the ISRO and NSIL feel that once private industry begins building launch vehicles, the number of commercial and science launches can be increased significantly as the turnaround time taken for building each rocket will be reduced.

nsil: In a 1st, GSLV-Mk3 may launch commercial satellites; NSIL mulls allowing pvt players to build rocket | India News - Times of India
 
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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has, for the first time, got inquiries for launching commercial satellites on its most powerful launch vehicle — the GSLV-MK3.

According to multiple sources in the Department of Space (DoS), the first launch may happen as early as the beginning of next year and the “announcement about the same is expected very soon”.

“...There are inquiries, and the DoS is in advanced stages of discussions with one major player for commercial launches. At this juncture, we cannot name the company/companies. But I can say this is a major project,” a source said.

Bharti Enterprises-backed OneWeb to launch sats on GSLV-Mk3 & PSLV

By Chethan Kumar / TNN / Updated: Oct 11, 2021, 11:11 IST
1633932209121.png

OneWeb's Satellite production facility.

BENGALURU: UK-based global firm OneWeb, which already has 322 satellites in orbit, will be using ISRO’s most powerful launch vehicle — the GSLV-Mk3 — and the space agency’s workhorse, the PSLV to launch satellites from Indian soil.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Enterprises, the largest stakeholder of OneWeb, said on Monday: “The collaboration with ISRO is moving along and I am happy to announce that we have made arrangements to use ISRO’s workhorse PSLV and importantly the new rocket with a very large payload capacity, the GSLV-Mk3, to launch OneWeb satellites from the Indian soil.”

He said OneWeb will be the first customers to start bringing in commercial positions in the Indian space market and will pave the way for more international customers to come to India.

“OneWeb will deliver connectivity to every square inch of the country, and will be providing its services in India by the middle of next year,” Mittal added.

TOI was the first to report last week that GSLV-Mk3 will, for the first time since its development, has got inquiries for launching commercial satellites and that an “announcement about the same is expected very soon.”

So far all of DoS’ commercial launches have been carried out by its workhorse PSLV. In the past decade or so, the PSLV has put into orbit nearly 320 foreign satellites and earned a foreign exchange revenue of multiple million dollars.

In the past few years, ISRO has been looking at leveraging the more powerful class of rockets — the GSLV family — for commercial launches but with no success. “Although we’ve been looking at using GSLV for commercial launches, we had not put it out there until now. And after this project is materialised, you will see a lot more GSLV-Mk3 commercial launches,” another source said.

In a separate development, space PSU NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), which has been mandated with productionising launch vehicles, is also looking to issue an expression of interest (EoI) for GSLV-Mk3, enabling private players to build the rocket.

NSIL is at present in the process of evaluating bids for bids submitted by industry players — one by a consortium of HAL and L&T, the second by a consortium comprising Adani-Alpha Design, BEL and BEML and the third by BHEL as a single firm.

NSIL CMD Radhakrishnan D told TOI: “Once the process involving PSLV is completed, we will issue the EoI for GSLV-Mk3. We are specifically looking at Mk-3 and not other GSLV class of launch vehicles.”

While the contract for five PSLV launch vehicles is likely to be signed by the end of this year, NSIL is yet to announce a specific timeline for kickstarting the GSLV-MK3 productionisation.

Senior officials from ISRO and NSIL feel that once private industry begins building launch vehicles, the number of commercial and science launches can be increased significantly as the turnaround time taken for building each rocket will be reduced.

onewebb: Bharti Enterprises-backed OneWeb to launch sats on GSLV-Mk3 & PSLV | India News - Times of India
 
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More policies expected in the coming days for space sector: ISpA chief

By S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on October 13, 2021
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Expected to bring new opportunities and growth to the industry

The Indian space sector is expected to see new opportunities in the next few years and many new companies are expected to join the domain on the back of some draft policies and some reforms which have been introduced, a top representative at Indian Space Association (ISpA) said.

“There are a few draft policies which are in circulation, some in public domain put up for comments and some being worked out, but not yet put in the public domain for comments. And, we believe there are seven in pipeline and three more to come. So, there’s going to be eventually about 10 policies which the government will release and that is essentially where the future will get defined,” Jayant Patil, Chairman, ISpA told BusinessLine in an interview.

Growth in market share

Patil said globally, the space industry market stands at around $360 billion right now and India has just 2 per cent market share currently, which is expected to grow to somewhere around nine per cent in the next decade. “Today we see about 50 start-ups in the space sector, and I believe now that it is formally being asserted in terms of the opening of the sector, more start-ups should be coming in the launch segment or into the satellite segment…the real big thing, real big numbers will start coming when the data is available and the utilisation of data and customising it to each and every user’s requirement,” he said.

On localisation of hardware, Patil said that everything was localised and that it was the one sector which was not import-dependent, except for satellites, and some of the equipment that goes with the satellite. He said that it was because the space sector has always remained under international sanctions.

However, some equipment used in in ground applications for tracking radars, and in the SATCOM segment are still imported .

Asked about employability in this sector, Patil said that although completely controlled by the government, as of today, ISRO has about nothing less than 250 industries which are part of the ISRO ecosystem.

“I would believe that these 250(firms) and some of the start-ups that have been just been launched and we have are where the nucleus would lie. Now, alongside organizations like L&T and Hindustan Aeronautics which typically would be running a big show, there would be smaller ones too. So today, it’s difficult to really talk in terms of where it will go in terms of numbers because that will happen once the business numbers spin off in the form of employment,” Patil added.

More policies expected in the coming days for space sector: ISpA chief

40 proposals with IN-SPACe, formal screening to begin soon

By Chethan Kumar / TNN / Oct 13, 2021, 07:57 IST
1634191715209.png

IN-SPACe chairperson Pawan Goenka

BENGALURU: The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), whose board was formally approved last month, will soon begin formal vetting of proposals before it and start clearing the same in the coming months.

IN-SPACe chairperson Pawan Goenka, who was in Bengaluru last week to visit various Department of Space (DoS) facilities, told TOI: “We have more than 40 proposals from both big and small firms. Last week we did some initial work on the (IN-SPACe) board and we will soon start reviewing the proposals before us.”

As reported first by TOI, among the proposals before the newly formed space regulator are Jeff Bezos’ US-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) and UK-based OneWeb, backed by Bharti Enterprises. The proposals seek permission for setting up ground stations, establishment of satellite constellations, production and launch of satellites, launch vehicles and providing applications.

As of December 2020, IN-SPACe had 22 domestic and 4 proposals from overseas. While the total number of proposals have now crossed 40 from the 26 it was last year, an immediate break-up of how many were from foreign companies was not available.

Among the Indian proposals, Tata’s Nelco has sought support for technology demonstration of Low-Earth Orbit network services, while L&T wants to “undertake an end-to-end role in the small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV). Startups Astrome Technologies, Pixxel, Dhruva Space from Bengaluru, Agnikul Cosmos from Chennai and Skyroot Aerospace from Hyderabad have sought permissions for space-based applications, satellite making, launching and development and launch of launch vehicles, while Bengaluru-based Alpha Design has sought technology for small satellites, and Delhi-based MapmyIndia has requested nod for providing services.

AGNi (Accelerated Growth of New India’s Innovations) spearheaded by India’s Principal Scientific Advisor’s office, a host of institutions, including IIT-B and IIT-M, and companies like Orbitx India Aerospace, Vellon Space, Tamboli Capital, etc have made proposals with IN-SPACe.


IN-SPACe Role

Further, a recent government notification on IN-SPACe has given the single-window agency that will have its own cadre a varied list of roles and responsibilities, including drawing up of integrated launch manifest considering requirements for ISRO, CPSEs and non-governmental private enterprises (NGPEs). “The decision of IN-SPACe shall be final and binding on all stakeholders,” the notification reads.

The agency will be responsible for activities including building of launch vehicles and satellites, providing space-based services, sharing of space infrastructure and premises under department of space (DoS) or ISRO control with due regard to on-going activities.

As per the notification, it’ll be responsible for: “Establishment of temporary facilities within DoS/ISRO premises based on safety, feasibility norms; establishment of new space infrastructure and facilities by NGPEs based on safety norms, other clearances; initiation of launch based on readiness of launch vehicles and spacecraft, ground and user segment, etc.”

It will also be responsible for building, operation and control of spacecraft for registration as Indian Satellite by NGPEs and all the associated infrastructure for the same.

“Usage of spacecraft data and rolling out of space-based services and all associated infrastructure, working out a suitable mechanism for promotion and hand holding, sharing of technologies and expertise to encourage NGPEs’ participation,” are also its responsibilities.

40 proposals with IN-SPACe, formal screening to begin soon | India News - Times of India
 
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