🏔 Echoes From Remote Border Villages Of Himachal

Anmol Jain

May 31, 2024, 01:08 PM | Updated 01:35 PM IST

🚀 It's Finally SOrTeD! AgniKul's Agnibaan Launch Ushers in New Era in Indian Space Tech

Agnibaan SOrTeD Rocket
Agnibaan SOrTeD Rocket

AgniKul Cosmos, the space tech startup based in Chennai, has successfully launched its Agnibaan rocket, marking a significant milestone in Indian space tech scene.

Trial by Fire: On May 30, AgniKul successfully launched its first sub-orbital rocket, Agnibaan SOrTeD at 7:15 am from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

  • It safely descended into the Bay of Bengal, reaching nearly 6 km into low earth orbit (LEO).

Why It Matters: AgniKul is now the second private Indian company, after Skyroot Aerospace, to send a rocket into space.

  • AgniKul is also the first Indian space tech startup with its own launchpad and mission control centre, built with ISRO and IN-SPACe’s help.

  • The launch validated AgniKul’s proprietary tech like autopilot, navigation, and guidance algorithms, setting the stage for future orbital flights.

AgniKul was founded in 2017 by aerospace engineers Srinath Ravichandran, Moin S P M, and IIT Madras professor S R Chakravarthy.

  • Raised $40 million since its establishment in 2017.

  • 'AgniKul' which translates as "school of fire" is inspired by the Sanskrit word "gurukul" (school).

Cool Tech: Agnibaan is a versatile two-stage rocket capable of hauling up to 100 kg to a 700 km distance in LEO.

  • Plug-and-Play Rocket: Allows payload integration in just two weeks and can be launched from multiple ports.

  • 3D-printed Agnilet Engine: World’s first fully 3D-printed, single-piece, 6 kN semi-cryogenic engine, tested at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.

Reusable Rockets: AgniKul aims to develop reusable launch vehicles, akin to SpaceX’s Falcon 9. However, CEO Ravichandran mentioned they’re perfecting space travel before aiming at reusability.

Potential customers from various industries — Earth observation, communications, and even unconventional fields like protein crystallisation — are eyeing Agnibaan’s capabilities.

  • Company aims to attract clients from India, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America.

What's Next: This successful launch puts AgniKul alongside Skyroot Aerospace as pioneers in private Indian space ventures.

  • ISRO Chairman S Somanath and IN-SPACe’s Pawan K Goenka are thrilled with this big win for India’s private sector within five years of space sector reforms in 2020.

🏔 Nation first! We Will Vote For Modi: Echoes From Remote Border Villages of Himachal

Preparations for a BJP rally in Kaza
Preparations for a BJP rally in Kaza

Our ground report from Himachal's remotest border villages — India's 'first villages'— in Mandi Lok Sabha constituency is here!

A Vibrant Tapestry: From busy towns like Mandi and Manali to the serene villages of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti, this seat is as diverse as it gets.

  • Here actress Kangana Ranaut (BJP) is up against Congress’s Vikramaditya Singh, heir to the Bushahr royal family.

Politics of the place: Historically, this region has favoured royal scions, electing them in 13 out of 19 elections.

  • Modi Factor: "The Congress candidate is strong. But for the BJP, it is not about the candidate... Our vote will go only for Modi Ji."

Voices from the Mountains: "We will vote for Modi! Nation first!" asserts Mahesh Negi from Rakchham village.

  • Development: Panna Ram Negi, a local from Jeori, credits the Modi govt for its infra push, especially under the PM Gramin Sadak Yojana.

  • Meritocracy: According to locals, govt job selections are now based on merit, unlike previous corruption-riddled processes.

  • "Tourism has increased, our shops have work. The roads have made our villages accessible to the country... this development is happening to keep the nation together."

World's highest polling station: At 15256 feet, remote villages like Tashigang portray a strong sense of national duty.

Future Aspirations: Locals now seek more basic services like schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities to match the infra growth.

  • Better water supply and electricity infrastructure are critical for surviving harsh winters.

Dive Deeper: These mountain communities make their voting choices by balancing their unique cultural heritage with modern development.

Read Ankit Saxena's fascinating ground report from Mandi in toto, here.

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