Indian space startup launches first rocket with fully 3D-printed engine

Indian space startup launches first rocket with fully 3D-printed engine
Agnibaan SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator is launched at Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. (Agnikul Cosmos)
Short Url
Updated 30 May 2024
Follow

Indian space startup launches first rocket with fully 3D-printed engine

Indian space startup launches first rocket with fully 3D-printed engine
  • Rocket launched from India’s first private launchpad in Sriharikota
  • Agnibaan has the first indigenously produced semi-cryogenic engine

NEW DELHI: An Indian startup launched the world’s first rocket with a single-piece 3D-printed engine on Thursday, marking another milestone in the country’s booming space economy.

The Agnibaan SOrTeD (Suborbital Tech Demonstrator) rocket weighing 575 kg and 6.2 meters long, was launched by Agnikul Cosmos from a private launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, off the Bay of Bengal.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media to congratulate the team and mark the launch as a “remarkable feat which will make the entire nation proud.”

The feat was achieved “entirely through indigenous design and development,” the company said in a statement.

“The key purpose of this mission, which is also Agnikul’s first flight, is to serve as a test flight, to demonstrate the in-house and homegrown technologies, gather crucial flight data and ensure optimal functioning of systems for Agnikul’s orbital launch vehicle.”

It is powered by the only India-manufactured rocket engine to use both gas and liquid fuel.

“What Agnikul has achieved today, is nothing short of a historical milestone ... Agnibaan SOrTeD has got many firsts in its strides with being India’s first launch from a private launchpad, the first semi-cryogenic engine-powered rocket launch and the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed engine designed and built indigenously,” Lt. Gen. A.K. Bhatt, director-general of the Indian Space Association, told Arab News.

“This is a huge boost and a proud moment for India’s thriving private space industry and just a glimpse into what the future holds for us.”

India’s national space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation, which has yet to fly a rocket with a similar engine, said Agnikul’s achievement was a “major milestone, as the first-ever controlled flight of a semi-cryogenic liquid engine realized through additive manufacturing.”

Agnikul, whose name is a combination of “fire” in Sanskrit (agni) and Hindi (kul) — was founded in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, in 2017.

The company has over 200 engineers and 45 scientists who previously worked at the ISRO and are associated with the National Centre for Combustion Research and Development at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras.

India’s first privately developed rocket, from the company Skyroot, was flown from the ISRO’s launch site in 2022.

The ISRO’s chairman, Dr. S. Somanath, said the many firsts in Thursday’s launch “demonstrate the prowess of indigenous design and innovation” and motivate the agency to support startups and the private sector “to create a vibrant space ecosystem in the country.”

India has been establishing a significant presence in the global space industry over the past few years.

Having become the fourth nation to soft-land a spacecraft on the moon in August last year, it aims to put an astronaut on the lunar surface by 2040.

In September 2023, India launched its sun mission with the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, which in January reached Lagrange point — 1.5 million km from Earth — to observe the photosphere and chromosphere and study solar wind particles and magnetic fields.

To date, the US is the only other country to have explored the sun with the Parker Solar Probe launched in 2021.

ENDS


Biden pledges not to pardon son or commute sentence

Biden pledges not to pardon son or commute sentence
Updated 12 sec ago
Follow

Biden pledges not to pardon son or commute sentence

Biden pledges not to pardon son or commute sentence
  • “I said I’d abide by the jury decision. I will do that. I will not pardon him,” the president told reporters at a G7 summit press conference in Italy
  • The verdict came as Biden faces a tough re-election battle against Donald Trump, who himself recently became the first former president to become a convicted felon

SAVELLETRI, Italy: US President Joe Biden said Thursday that he would not pardon his son Hunter or commute any sentence following Hunter’s conviction on charges of lying about his drug addiction while buying a handgun.

“No,” Biden replied when reporters at a G7 summit press conference in Italy asked if he would commute any sentence that 54-year-old Hunter faces.
“I’m extremely proud of my son Hunter. He has overcome an addiction, he’s one of the brightest, most decent men I know,” Biden said.
“I said I’d abide by the jury decision. I will do that. I will not pardon him,” he said.
In the historic first criminal prosecution of a sitting US president’s child, a jury on Tuesday found Hunter Biden guilty on three felony counts stemming from his 2018 purchase of a handgun while addicted to crack cocaine.

Hunter Biden (C) walks with his son and wife a Delaware airport after meeting with his father, US President Joe Biden, on June 11, 2024, just aftera jury found the younger Biden guilty on Tuesday of federal gun charges. (AFP)

He could face up to 25 years in prison, though as a first-time offender jail time is unlikely. A date was not set for sentencing but it is expected to take place in the next few months.
Biden said in a statement after the verdict that he loved his sole surviving son — his eldest son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015 — and would respect the jury’s conclusion.
But his comments in Italy on Thursday were his first public statement on the verdict.
The day before his Italy trip, Biden, 81, changed his schedule to fly to Wilmington, Delaware, the family hometown where the trial was held.
Hunter Biden was waiting on the tarmac when Marine One landed and was given a warm hug by his father before they left in a motorcade.
The verdict came as Biden faces a tough re-election battle against Donald Trump, who himself recently became the first former president to become a convicted felon.
Trump was found guilty by a New York jury of breaching election law by lying about hush money payments to a porn star.
 


Argentine monthly inflation lowest in 2.5 years

Argentine monthly inflation lowest in 2.5 years
Updated 8 min 4 sec ago
Follow

Argentine monthly inflation lowest in 2.5 years

Argentine monthly inflation lowest in 2.5 years

BUENOS AIRES: Monthly inflation in economically troubled Argentina came in at 4.2 percent in May, the lowest in two-and-a-half years, mainly due to a drop in consumption, the INDEC statistics agency said Thursday.

For the first five months of 2024, the rate came in at 71.9 percent, and year-on-year at 276.4 percent — down from 289.4 percent registered in April but still at record high levels.

The rate fell for the fifth successive month in May.

In December, when budget-slashing President Javier Milei took office, inflation leapt by 25.5 percent, provoked by his devaluation of the peso by more than 50 percent.

Self-declared “anarcho-capitalist” Milei has vowed to halt Argentina’s economic decline and reduce the budget deficit to zero.

He has slashed public spending, cut the cabinet in half, done away with 50,000 public jobs, suspended new public works contracts and ripped away fuel and transport subsidies.

In April, Milei hailed the South American country’s first quarterly budget surplus since 2008.

Economy Minister Luis Caputo on Thursday celebrated the May data as indicating a “deepening of the ongoing disinflation process.”

Critics say Milei’s few wins have come at the cost of the poor and working classes, and were unlikely to last.

Economist Hernan Letcher of the CEPA economics think tank told AFP the inflation drop was explained, in large part, by a “significant fall in consumption.”

“We consultants expect that the process of reducing the rate of inflation will not continue in June,” he said.

“The market expectation survey shows that a level in the order of five percent will be maintained until the end of the year.”

Consumer consumption, manufacturing and construction have slumped under Milei’s peso devaluation and budget cuts, with a 5.3 percent contraction in economic activity in the first quarter.

The International Monetary Fund expects the Argentine economy to contract by 2.8 percent this year, after a 1.6-percent decline in 2023.

The government this week reported a 16-percent increase in real wages in the private sector in April and a recovery of purchasing power that is the “most significant since 2009.”

It is a relative figure, however, in a country where informal employment accounted for more than 45 percent of the work force even before the impact of Milei’s austerity measures started hitting home.

Poverty in the South American country now stands at 55.5 percent, according to the Pontifical Catholic University’s Social Debt Monitor.

Last month, Argentina introduced a 10,000-peso banknote, worth the equivalent of about $11 — five times the face value of the previous biggest 2,000-peso bill.

Thursday’s inflation data came hours after a first victory for Milei in the Senate, which approved a modified version of his economic liberalization package.

Milei’s bill, which makes provision for privatization of state-owned companies and weakens labor protections, have raised the ire of workers and leftists, who fought running battles with police outside Congress on Wednesday.

The draft legislation must still be given a final green light by the lower house Chamber of Deputies.


‘Alarm bells ringing’: Dembele calls on France stars to vote in key elections

‘Alarm bells ringing’: Dembele calls on France stars to vote in key elections
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

‘Alarm bells ringing’: Dembele calls on France stars to vote in key elections

‘Alarm bells ringing’: Dembele calls on France stars to vote in key elections
  • Ousmane Dembele: ‘We need to mobilize to get out and vote’
  • FFF planning player proxy vote if still involved in Euro 2024

PADERBORN, Germany: France star Ousmane Dembele admitted on Thursday the political situation in the country had “set alarm bells ringing” and said he and his teammates intended to vote in upcoming legislative elections even if they are still involved at Euro 2024 in Germany.
“We need to mobilize to get out and vote,” Dembele told reporters at the French team’s training base in western Germany where they are preparing for their opening European Championship game against Austria on Monday.
“I think the situation in France has set alarm bells ringing. Everyone needs to rally round and come together to vote.”
President Emmanuel Macron has called elections for the lower house National Assembly with the first round set for June 30 and the second round on July 7.
He announced the snap poll last Sunday in response to the results of the EU elections, in which far-right parties — including the top-scoring National Rally (RN) — managed to take almost 40 percent of the vote in France.
“I was watching the news not long ago and I saw that one in every two people in France doesn’t vote, so everyone needs to vote in the legislative elections,” added Dembele, the former Barcelona winger now playing back in France for Paris Saint-Germain.
The French squad will still be in Germany at the time of the election, provided they make it beyond the group stage.
The first round of the election is set to take place the same weekend as the last 16 of Euro 2024, while the second round comes just after the quarter-finals.
However, Dembele said the French Football Federation was planning to help players set up a proxy vote if they remained in Germany at the time.


Pope Francis to meet at G7 summit with Biden, Zelensky, Macron, Modi

Pope Francis to meet at G7 summit with Biden, Zelensky, Macron, Modi
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

Pope Francis to meet at G7 summit with Biden, Zelensky, Macron, Modi

Pope Francis to meet at G7 summit with Biden, Zelensky, Macron, Modi
  • Pope Francis is the first pope to participate in G7 discussions
  • Pope will have a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis will meet with the leaders of the United States, Ukraine, France and India, among others, on the sidelines of the Group of 7 (G7) summit in Italy, the Vatican said on Thursday.

Francis, who in January warned against the “perverse” dangers of artificial intelligence, is due to take part in leaders’ talks on the new technology on Friday.

He is the first pope to participate in G7 discussions.

Issuing a program for his one-day appearance, the Vatican said Francis would have a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden, a fellow Catholic.

The Vatican said he would also have one-on-one meetings with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, France’s Emmanuel Macron, India’s Narendra Modi, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Turkiye’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kenya’s William Ruto,

Algeria’s Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva.

Francis and Biden met at the Vatican in 2021 and the president said the pope told him he was a “good Catholic” who can receive communion even as conservative US bishops wanted to deny it because of Biden’s support for abortion rights.

The two men also spoke in October last year about the crisis in the Middle East after Hamas’ attack on Israel.

Biden has spoken movingly of his respect for the pope, praising his empathy and calling him a “decent man.” They stay in touch, Biden has said.


Pro-Palestinian protesters take over Cal State LA building, leaving damage and graffiti

Pro-Palestinian protesters take over Cal State LA building, leaving damage and graffiti
Updated 13 June 2024
Follow

Pro-Palestinian protesters take over Cal State LA building, leaving damage and graffiti

Pro-Palestinian protesters take over Cal State LA building, leaving damage and graffiti
  • Pro-Palestinian demonstrators barricaded the multistory Student Services Building
  • The university posted a “protest action alert” on its website

LOS ANGELES: A takeover of a building at California State University, Los Angeles, by demonstrators protesting Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, leaving the facility trashed and covered with graffiti, TV news reports showed.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators barricaded the multistory Student Services Building on Wednesday and workers inside were told to shelter in place, but it was empty by Thursday morning, said university spokesperson Erik Frost Hollins.
“What I can tell you, at the moment, is that the building is clear of employees and protesters and the building is secure,” said Frost Hollins, who did not immediately offer details on what occurred overnight.
The university posted a “protest action alert” on its website announcing that all main campus classes and operations would be remote until further notice and asking people to stay away.
Images from the scene showed graffiti on the building, furniture blocking doorways and overturned golf carts, picnic tables and umbrellas barricading the plaza out front.
The CSULA Gaza Solidarity Encampment, a group that has camped near the campus gym for about 40 days, sent an email indicating that members were staging a sit-in in the building, Hollins said.