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World’s first 3D-printed rocket engine


Why is it in the news?

  • India’s Agnikul successfully launches world’s 1st single-piece 3D-printed rocket engine, ‘Agnibaan’.

With assistance from ISRO, the startup successfully carried out a sub-orbital test-flight of its home-built rocket — Agnibaan —from Sriharikota.

3D printing:

·        3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of creating three-dimensional objects from digital models by adding material layer by layer.

·        It is an additive process, in which layers of a material like plastic, composites or bio-materials are built up to construct objects that range in shape, size, rigidity and colour.

·        This process allows for more efficient and customized production compared to traditional subtractive manufacturing methods.

 Agnibaan SOrTeD (Sub-Orbital Technology Demonstrator):

  • Agnikul Cosmos successfully test-fires Agnibaan SOrTeD rocket on fifth attempt, achieving suborbital spaceflight.
  • A sub-orbital launch is a spaceflight that reaches outer space but doesn’t complete an orbit around the Earth.
  • The spacecraft’s trajectory intersects the Earth’s atmosphere or surface, so it doesn’t become an artificial satellite or reach escape velocity.
  • Second private company to launch rocket after Sky root in 2022.

Features:

  • Agnibaan, a two-stage launch vehicle, offers customizable options and can carry payloads up to 300 kg to a 700 km orbit. It utilizes semi-cryogenic engine technology, not yet demonstrated by ISRO.
  • A semi-cryogenic engine is a type of rocket engine that uses a combination of liquid and gaseous propellants.
  • It operates at temperatures higher than cryogenic engines but lower than traditional liquid rocket engines.
  • They use refined kerosene instead of liquid hydrogen, which is lighter and can be stored at normal temperatures.
  • The test flight aims to:
  • demonstrate the in-house and homegrown technologies, gather crucial flight data, and
  • ensure the optimal functioning of systems for AgniKul’s orbital launch vehicle, ‘Agnibaan’.
  • It can access both low and high-inclination orbits and is completely mobile — designed for accessing more than 10 launch ports
Key takeaways: Agni Baan Milestones

·        Agnibaan has become the world’s first 3D printed engine.

·        It became the first semi-cryogenic engine-powered rocket launch.

·        It also became India’s first rocket launch from a private launchpad.

·        Agnibaan is powered by the only rocket engine in the country that uses both gas and liquid fuel (liquid oxygen/kerosene).

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