Indian Startup to Test Smallsat Launcher in Alaska

Indian startup Agnikul Cosmos Launch Vehicles has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to test its Agnibaan booster at the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska on Kodiak Island.

The agreement commits Agnikul and Alaska Aerospace Corporation to working together to obtain regulatory and export control approvals from the Indian and American governments for an initial test launch in 2022, CNBC TV18 reports.

“We are thrilled Agnikul has partnered with Alaska Aerospace for high inclination flight testing. Agnikul has established itself as a leading rocket technology company, and we are pleased Alaska’s proven launch infrastructure and expertise continue to attract new space launch companies from around the world,” said Mark Lester, president and CEO of Alaska Aerospace.

The two-stage Agnibaan rocket is designed to launch payloads weighing as much as 100 kg (220 lb) into 700-km (435-mile) high orbits. Depending upon the mission, the first stage can be configured to include 4-7 printed Agnite electric-pump fed engines powered by liquid oxygen and kerosene.

The second stage will have a single vacuum optimized Agnite engine. Agnite engines will be 3D printed using additive manufacturing. A third stage could be added for selected missions.

The company plans to offer clients a two-week time table from payload integration to launch once Agnibaan is operational.

“Agnibaan can access both low and high inclination orbits and is completely mobile – designed for accessing more than 10 launch ports,” the company said on its website.

CNBC TV18 reports Agnikul Cosmos raised Rs 23.4 crore ($3.19 million) in a pre-Series A funding round earlier this year. The round was led by pi Ventures with the participation of Artha Ventures, LetsVenture, Globevestor, CIIE, Hari Kumar of LionRock Capital, and existing investor Speciale Invest.