Technology Development Board - Department of Science & Technology empowers indigenous Space innovation: Funding Dhruva Space's Solar Array Project

[New Delhi, IN] (Wednesday 24 April 2024) As a significant step towards indigenisation in the Space sector and aligning with its mission of advancing indigenous capabilities, the Technology Development Board (TDB) is proud to announce its financial support to the project titled 'Space-Grade Solar Array Fabrication and Test Facility' by Dhruva Space Private Limited, Hyderabad. TDB has sanctioned financial assistance to this space startup, demonstrating its confidence in the project's potential to drive technological advancements in the Space industry. 

With TDB’s backing, Dhruva Space is undertaking an ambitious initiative to develop and commercialise Space-grade solar array fabrication and testing processes tailored for spacecraft applications. The primary objective of this project is to pioneer technological innovations in solar panel manufacturing to meet the rigorous demands of on-orbit usage.

The project entails several key innovations, including the adoption of new materials like carbon fibre and resins for substrate side IP to enhance performance and durability. It also focuses on process innovations in solar cell assembly (SCA) through novel stringing and bonding techniques. In the long-term future, Dhruva Space aims to manufacture high-efficiency solar panels using triple junction GaAs technology, targeting an efficiency of up to 30%. Additionally, a specialised test facility will be developed to ensure compliance and certification of space-grade solar arrays.

Furthermore, the project encompasses a series of Space-qualified processes, including substrate fabrication, precise cell welding, secure cell bonding, integration of electrical harnesses, and comprehensive testing and evaluation. Mechanical tests will cover vibration, shock, and full-panel assessments, while electrical evaluations will utilise a Large Area Pulsed Sun Simulator for thorough testing. Environmental testing will include thermo-vacuum chamber conditions and acoustic testing, with zero-gravity (Zero G) deployment simulations to assess performance in Space environments.

Shri Rajesh Kumar Pathak, Secretary, TDB, expressed enthusiasm about the initiative, stating, "We are excited to support Dhruva Space in their endeavour to develop cutting-edge Space-grade solar array technologies. This project perfectly aligns with TDB's mission to promote indigenous innovation and strengthen India's capabilities in domestic production, furthering India's commitment to becoming a global hub for advanced and cost-effective space technologies."

Shri Sanjay Nekkanti, CEO, Dhruva Space, said, “One of the crucial product offerings at Dhruva Space is the end-to-end design, engineering, assembly, integration and testing of Spacecraft Solar Arrays for manned and unmanned Space programs. One of our core capabilities has been to supply Space power solutions to large satellites as well, and we are thankful to Technology Development Board, Department of Science & Technology, in enabling us to scale these capabilities where we have seen traction not just in India but also overseas.”

About Technology Development Board

The Government of India constituted the Technology Development Board (TDB) in September 1996, under the Technology Development Board Act, 1995, as a statutory body, to promote development and commercialization of indigenous technology and adaptation of imported technology for wider application. The board consists of 11 Board members.

The TDB is the first organisation of its kind within the government framework with the sole objective of commercialising the fruit of indigenous research. The Board plays a pro-active role by encouraging enterprises to take up technology oriented products.

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