ISRO exports tech from US to produce solar cells for satellites in space

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  • ISRO will export technology from the US for mass production of space solar cells to power Indian satellites.
  • Until now, India was procuring the solar cells from private American companies.
  • This will make India more independent and will also reduce the expenses incurred because of the expensive exports.

ISRO has recently purchased technology for space solar cells from the US. Mass production of these solar cells is expected to start taking place in Bangalore soon and these cells will be used to power satellites in space and keep it functional. Unlike the conventional solar cells, these new ones are expected to be highly sophisticated and efficient.

Before the country decided to buy this technology, India was procuring solar cells from private American companies at rather expensive rates. Furthermore, there were restrictions on buying them in bulk. Our satellite programmes were completely dependant on these cells and without the tech to make more indigenously, there was little else to do but to count wholly on the transaction.

Producing a small remote-sensing satellite requires about 1,500 solar cells, while big satellites like GSAT or geosynchronous satellites, which are communication satellites, needs 10,000 to 15,000 cells. Each of these cells had to be imported and therefore the whole process cost a lot. However, the cost is expected to go down several times once mass production begins in India.

Bharat Electronics Limited has been given the contract to mass-produce solar cells at an ISRO facility in Bengaluru under the supervision of the organisation’s scientists.

These satellites, once launched in space, open up their wings, that have the solar cells, to absorb sunlight and turn solar power to electricity. The satellite is kept up and functioning by these cells and will maintain power and working capacity unless the cells last. Once the cells die out, the satellite powers down, stops functioning and becomes space debri.
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