Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

A rocket with an engine printed on a 3D printer in three days was successfully tested

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun1,2024

Rocket with 3D-printed engine successfully tested in three days

Indian startup Agnikul has successfully tested its first rocket with a fully 3D-printed engine.


The Agnibaan SOrTeD demonstration rocket was launched from a mobile pad at the Satish Dhawan Spaceport on Sriharikota Island in South India. As a result, it landed safely in the Bay of Bengal, which confirmed the possibility of using a 3D printed engine in controlled flights. It takes 10 to 12 weeks to produce an engine of this size using traditional technology.

The development of the missile took 2 years and was accompanied by 4 postponements due to technical malfunctions. A complete engine takes 72 to 75 hours to complete. The startup can produce 2 fully finished engines in a week, much faster than traditional methods that take up to 12 weeks. Agnikul co-founder and CEO, Sreenath Ravichandran, said the uniqueness of their engine is that it is created as a single piece without welding or assembly.

The engine, made of heat-resistant nickel-chromium alloy, has low thermal conductivity. This required the development of a complex cooling system involving about 80 design iterations. At Agnikul, they abandoned the use of solid propellant systems due to their high explosiveness, preferring a liquid system, which made the rocket safer.

Rocket height – 6.2 meters and mass – 570 kg, it is equipped with a semi-cryogenic engine that provides a thrust of 6.2 kN. The engine is completely 3D printed, eliminating the human error that occurs with traditional assembly methods. Ravichandran added that their technology makes it possible to modify certain parts of the engine design, giving customers the ability to launch small, customized satellites.

Since its founding in 2017, the startup Agnikul began by printing individual rocket engine components such as such as igniters and cooling channels, gradually moving to the creation of integral parts. As a result, they were able to avoid the need for welding and assembly, which increased the reliability and efficiency of the engines. The startup iteratively made more than 70 refinements to the injectors and about 20 refinements to the engine cooling chamber to arrive at the optimal design.

Agnikul is actively supported by retired scientists from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and researchers from IIT Madras. The company has already signed preliminary agreements with more than 40 potential customers and plans to launch its first Agnibaan rocket with a commercial payload of satellites within the next 6 months.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

Related Post