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06/04/24 | 3:43 pm

India’s space startup Agnikul delays maiden rocket launch again

Indian aerospace startup Agnikul Cosmos postponed the maiden launch of its Agnibaan rocket again, people at the launch site said on Saturday, citing technical issues.

The company postponed the liftoff while conducting pre-launch checks, the people said. The rocket maker delayed the Agnibaan launch last month without giving a clear reason.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushes for the privatisation and commercialisation of the space sector, Agnikul is seeking to conduct India’s second private rocket launch, following startup Skyroot’s 2022 launch of the Vikram-S rocket.

Last month, Kairos, a small, solid-fuel rocket made by Japan’s Space One, exploded seconds into its inaugural launch as the firm tried to become the first Japanese company to put a satellite in orbit.

The Agnibaan is a customisable, two-stage launch vehicle that can carry a payload of up to 300 kg (660 pounds) into orbit of about 700 km (440 miles), according to the company.

The mission, although just two minutes from launch to splashdown, would be a major technological jump for India, as the Indian Space Research Organisation has not successfully flown a semi-cryogenic engine – one that uses a mix of liquid and gas propellant.

Companies ranging from Big Tech to startups around the world are looking to launch their small satellites of up to 500 kg to improve their technologies or for uses such as precise climate monitoring and internet connectivity for remote areas.

(Reuters)

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