India-based space tech startup AgniKul Cosmos has signed an MoU with EOS India, a global leader in 3D printing technology. Under the MoU, EOS and Agnikul will work together to expand their synergy in the field of 3D printing for rockets and their subsystems.
This strategic alliance will help Agnikul conceive innovative manufacturing solutions via industrial 3D printing technology and elevate the company’s mission in designing affordable launch vehicles that drastically reduce launch wait time.
Agnikul, incubated at IIT Madras, is the first space startup to sign an agreement with the Department of Space under the newly announced IN-SPACe initiative. EOS is a global leader 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 organizations like Aerospace, Medical, Defense, & Industrial customers.
Under the agreement, 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 to space qualification. This will allow Agnikul to own the entire rocket engine-making process from start to finish in-house.
EOS would facilitate and support Agnikul by providing training, process know-how, and best practices for taking hardware that has worked successfully on the ground & qualifying it for spaceflight. 3D printing an entire rocket engine in one shot effectively allows for automation of the engine-making process thereby facilitating launch-on-demand. This is a significant step in moving the small satellite launch market towards a customer-centric business model instead of what it is today – a vehicle-centric model.
Anand Prakasam, Country Head at EOS India, said, “We are excited to be working with the Agnikul team as their approach to usage of additive manufacturing for realizing their products is novel. 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.”
Speaking about the partnership, Moin SPM, Co-founder and COO of Agnikul, said, “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 strategize on efficient and advanced 3D printing techniques to build world-class space technology in India. EOS and Agnikul share a common vision of revolutionizing the manufacturing infrastructure by incorporating advanced and innovative technologies. This partnership will provide us with a great platform to demonstrate our AatmaNirbharBharat vision & will make our rocket engines both designed and realized in India.”
Srinath Ravichandran, Co-Founder and CEO, Agnikul, said, “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. We will continue to strive to make launch vehicles as customizable and as flexible as possible.”
Prof. SR Chakravarthy, Founding Advisor highlighted that “Besides lean and fast engine making, in-house printing ability will allow for quick progress and understanding in futuristic materials research and this will form the bedrock for intellectual property developed in the company”.
In May 2021, Agnikul had raised $11 million in a Series A funding round 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 INR 23.4 Cr ($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.