Spacetech Startups Get Access to ISRO Facilities, Expertise to Test Rocket Systems

The Department of Space (DoS) has signed a Framework Memorandum of Understanding with aerospace startup Agnikul Cosmos for access to ISRO facilities and expertise for the development and testing of space launch vehicle subsystems / systems.

The MoU will allow the company to run multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) centers to test and qualify its one-piece 3D printed Semi Cryo engine and other systems. It will also enable Agnikul, based at IIT-Madras National Combustion Research and Development Center, Chennai, to leverage ISRO’s technical expertise to test and qualify its space launch vehicle systems and subsystems. Agnikul said the MoU would formally allow him to go ahead with his test plans at ISRO. “With this level of government support, low Earth orbit seems close,” tweeted the company, which raised $ 11 million in a Series A round from institutional investors and angels earlier this year.

Senior Agnikul officials met with DoS Secretary and ISRO President K Sivan, who secured full DoS support to qualify Agnikul launch vehicle systems. ISRO Scientific Secretary and Chair of the IN-SPACe (India National Space Promotion and Authorization Center) Interim Committee, R Umamaheswaran, signed the MoU on Friday on behalf of the DoS and Agnikul CEO Srinath Ravichandran signed it since the company side.

DoS signed a similar MOU with Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace last week to access ISRO facilities and expertise for space launch vehicle subsystem / system development and testing. The MoU Framework will allow the company to conduct multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centers and also leverage ISRO’s technical expertise to test and qualify its space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the ISRO president inaugurated the spacecraft research laboratory at Bellatrix Aerospace located on the campus of the Indian Institute of Sciences here. This privately funded propulsion laboratory has in-house facilities for the development and testing of electrical and green chemical propulsion technologies, according to ISRO. Sivan thanked the young team for establishing the state-of-the-art facility that houses equipment such as built-in high-vacuum thermal testing facilities, catalytic reactors, propellant preparation facilities, and specialized high-temperature coating facilities.

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