India to do 19 launches through March 2025

India's planned launches through March 2025

According to India’s space bureaucracy IN-SPACe, that nation has planned as many as 19 launches through March 2025.

The image to the right shows the manifest that IN-SPACe released. That agency is tasked with encouraging India’s private and independnt space industry, and it claims that 30 missions in total are planned, with half by commercial companies. This number however includes payloads and suborbital test missions, not just orbital launches. Based on the manifest to the right it appears that 19 of these missions are launches, with six being entirely private launches. One of those private launches, the first of Agnikul’s commercial Agnibaan rocket, will be suborbital.

It thus appears that in 2024 India hopes to complete 14 orbital launches. If so, this would double that nation’s previous record of seven launches in a single year. This schedule is very aspirational, with those six entirely commercial launches likely not all happening as planned.

Another Indian rocket startup tests engine

According to India’s space agency ISRO, it recently provided the facilities for the Indian rocket startup company Agnikul Cosmos to complete a static fire engine test of its second-stage rocket engine.

The agency fired Agnikul’s fully 3D-printed second-stage rocket engine Agnilet for a duration of 15 seconds. Agnilet is a regeneratively cooled 1.4 kN semi-cryogenic engine that uses Liquid oxygen and Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) as propellants. According to Agnikul, the engine is capable of generating 3kN of thrust at sea level and would propel the upper stage of Agnibaan, the company’s under-development launch vehicle.

The company had said it hoped to complete its first launch this year, but that appears highly unlikely. Nonetheless, it has raised at least $14.1 million in investment capital.

Thus, it appears India now has two private rocket companies gearing up for launch in ’23, Agnikul Cosmos and Skyroot.

Indian smallsat rocket startup hopes to complete 1st launch this year

The new colonial movement: A new Indian private commercial rocket startup, Agnikul, now hopes to complete the first launch of its Agnibaan rocket before the end of 2022.

Whether or not this launch happens this year, the important thing is the existence of this private independent rocket company in India. Up until now, India’s government space bureaucracy in ISRO, and in its new commercial arm, NSIL, has controlled all of that country’s commercial market share. Like NASA before 2008, it has worked aggressively to keep independent players out.

Agnikul’s existence suggests the Modi government’s effort to emulate the U.S. and create an independent private space industry is beginning to bear fruit. If so, expect big things over the next decade from India in space.

India signs deal with private rocket startup

Capitalism in space: India’s new Department of Space, dedicated to encouraging the growth of a private commercial and independent Indian space industry, has signed a deal with the private rocket startup, Agnikul Cosmos, to give it access to government space facilities as it develops its own smallsat rocket.

Indian startup Agnikul Cosmos signed a framework memorandum of understanding (MOU) with India’s Department of Space on Friday for access to ISRO facilities and expertise for the development of its two-stage small-satellite Agnibaan launch vehicle.

“The Framework MoU…will enable the company for undertaking multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centers for testing and qualification of their single piece 3D printed Semi Cryo engine and other systems. The MoU also enable Agnikul to avail technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying their space launch vehicle systems and subsystems,” ISRO said in a press release.

The company has raised more than $14.1 million in investment capital, and hopes to complete the first launch of its Agnibaan rocket by ’22.