India has launched over 180 different satellites ever since its first satellite, Aryabhata I was launched in 1975. One of the major parts of satellites is the onboard solar power system called space solar cells as it keeps the satellite alive.
Till now, the solar cell technology was procured from the USA, and ISRO was entirely dependent on their imports.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan told The Times Of India, “Till now, we have been procuring space cells from US private companies for producing our satellite. Being a critical technology, imported cells costed us dearly.”
Well now, ISRO has bought the technology for space solar cells from the USA to mass produce them, right here in India.
Taking up the industrious process is Bharat Electronics Ltd which will begin production of the space solar cells at the ISRO facility in Bengaluru. The cells will be soon be used in future missions developed by ISRO.
K Sivan talked about the solar cells used in the satellite and told the publication, “For producing a small remote sensing satellite, 1,500 solar cells are needed. For a big satellite like GSAT, around 10,000 to 15,000 solar cells are imported. ISRO used around 20,000 solar cells for developing the country’s heaviest satellite– GSAT-11.”
He also talked about the cost, adding, “ISRO has to shell out Rs 15 crore for import of every 10,000 cells. If these cells are produced in the country, the cost will go down considerably.”
Further, the import sector has been facing several restrictions, and if it were to come to a standstill, the country’s satellite programmes would fall behind. Therefore, an independent source for a crucial technology would benefit the Indian Space Programme, K Sivan felt.
Building a native source for procurement of technology would not only bring down the costs for ISRO but also lead to the securing of many jobs.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)