According to Reuters, Chennai-based space firm Agnikul Cosmos announced on October 17 that it has acquired an extra $26.7 million in investment ahead of its debut rocket launch. Agnikul is derived from the Hindi and Sanskrit words for fire.
According to the statement, CEO Srinath Ravichandran attributed the start-up's improved funding prospects to India's successful Chandrayaan-3 mission. India beat Russia to become the first country to successfully soft land on the Moon's yet-unexplored south pole earlier this year.
While Ravichandran would not reveal the company's worth, he did highlight Agnikul's dedication to cost-effective launches, with the goal of greatly undercutting competitors. According to the source, Celesta Capital, Rocketship.vc, Artha Venture Fund, Artha Select Fund, and Mayfield India are among the investors in the recent investment round.
The company plans to build a launch platform with pricing that is independent of payload bulk. Agnikul has begun the integration of its Agnibaan, a two-stage configurable launch vehicle capable of delivering up to 300 kg to orbits 700 kilometers distant.
Agnikul, which was founded in 2017, operates India's first commercial launchpad and mission control center, distinguishing itself from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which oversees the country's other launchpads.
In the next two months, the start-up hopes to launch a suborbital rocket from its private pad, marking India's second private launch after Skyroot's Vikram-S. The latest funds, totaling USD 40 million, will be used to prepare for commercial launches.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun steps to privatize and attract foreign investment in the space sector, with the goal of tripling India's share of the global launch market within a decade. The country now has a 2% share of the $400 billion worldwide commercial space sector, which the government hopes to increase to 40% by 2040.
Agnibaan is a two-stage launch vehicle that can be completely customized. On November 4, 2022, the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), ISRO's main Centre for launch vehicle development, allowed the hot testing of a rocket engine created by Agnikul Cosmos.
The VSSC successfully completed a 15-second test of the Agnilet Engine at its Vertical Test Facility at the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) near Thiruvananthapuram. The test was conducted as part of an agreement inked between ISRO and Agnikul Cosmos to allow Indian space start-ups to utilize ISRO facilities through IN-SPACe.