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BENGALURU: Two days after it was forced to call off the launch of its Agnibaan’s “SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator or SOrTeD” mission, spacetech startup Agnikul Cosmos Thursday carried out a successful mission, giving Indian space sector several firsts.
“Congratulations to Agnikul for the successful launch of the Agnibaan SoRTed-01 mission from their launch pad.A major milestone, as the first-ever controlled flight of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine realised through additive manufacturing,” Isro said after the launch.

The single-stage rocket powered by semi-cryogenic engine Agnilet, is a precursor for the launch of Agnibaan — a two-stage launch vehicle designed to be highly customisable and capable of carrying a 300kg payload to a 700km orbit.

Thursday’s mission achieved three milestones: Demonstrating India’s first launch from a private launchpad (Agnikul Launch Pad in Sriharikota named Dhanush), showcasing the country’s first semi-cryogenic engine-powered rocket launch, and utilising the first single-piece 3D-printed engine designed and built domestically to power a launch vehicle.

The key purpose of the Agnibaan’s “SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator or SOrTeD” mission, which is also Agnikul’s first flight, is to serve as a test flight, to demonstrate the in-house and home grown technologies, gather crucial flight data and ensure optimal functioning of systems for Agnibaan.

Unlike traditional sounding rockets that launch from guide rails, SOrTeD lifted off vertically and followed a predetermined trajectory while performing a precisely orchestrated set of manoeuvres during flight.
Pointing out that one of the systems that differentiates a engine ground test fire from actual flight is the autopilot, the firm said: “We characterised the gimbaling system using which the autopilot rotates the thrust at our own in-loop facility.”

Lt Gen (retd) AK Bhatt, director general, Indian Space Association (ISpA), while terming the mission a historical milestone, said: “This is a huge boost and a proud moment for India’s thriving private space industry and just a glimpse into what the future holds for us, our hearty congratulations to the entire team behind this and best wishes for their future efforts. This significant launch, coupled with the recently introduced guidelines for the implementation of the Indian Space Policy 2023 by IN-SPACe and the new FDI regulations, will undoubtedly bolster global confidence in India’s private space industry and its growing capabilities.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the AgnikulCosmos team for their achievement on social media platform ‘X.’ PM wrote, “A remarkable feat which will make the entire nation proud!”

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