होम SCI. AND TECH. Know about ISRO and NASA Collaborative Project: NISAR

Know about ISRO and NASA Collaborative Project: NISAR



In the relentless pursuit of unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has embarked on a groundbreaking mission that promises to revolutionize our understanding of Earth’s dynamic processes and the universe beyond. The NISAR mission is a collaborative effort between ISRO and NASA, aiming to provide unprecedented insights into Earth’s changing landscapes and the dynamics of the universe.

About NISAR:

NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory being jointly developed by NASA and ISRO .NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) is a satellite mission that aims to provide unprecedented insights into Earth’s surface and interior, using two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes as small as a centimeter. The mission is a joint collaboration between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and is expected to launch till June 2024.

NISAR will map the entire globe every 12 days, providing data for a wide range of applications, such as studying natural hazards, monitoring glaciers and ice sheets, tracking changes in ecosystems and water resources, and understanding the effects and pace of climate change. NISAR will also contribute to our knowledge of Earth’s crust, which is constantly shifting due to tectonic forces.

Know about ISRO and NASA Collaborative Project: NISAR

NISAR is the first radar imaging satellite to use dual frequencies, which will allow it to observe a wider range of changes than either one alone. The L-band radar, provided by NASA, is sensitive to longer-wavelength changes, such as those caused by earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic activity. The S-band radar, provided by ISRO, is sensitive to shorter-wavelength changes, such as those caused by vegetation growth, soil moisture, and crop health.

NISAR will be a valuable resource for scientists, policymakers, and the general public, as it will help us better understand and manage our planet’s dynamic and complex systems. NISAR will also demonstrate the benefits of international cooperation and innovation in space exploration.

Objectives of NISAR:

  1. Surface Deformation Monitoring: NISAR will play a pivotal role in monitoring surface deformations on Earth, including tectonic plate movements, volcanic activities, and ground subsidence. This capability is crucial for understanding natural disasters and predicting potential hazards.
  2. Glacial Monitoring: The mission will also focus on studying glaciers and ice caps to comprehend their movement and assess the impact of climate change on polar regions. This information is essential for predicting sea level rise and its potential consequences.
  3. Ecological Observations: NISAR’s advanced radar will enable scientists to study changes in vegetation, providing valuable insights into forest cover, agricultural practices, and overall ecological health. This information is vital for sustainable resource management and biodiversity conservation.
  4. Water and Soil Moisture Monitoring: The mission will contribute to monitoring water bodies and soil moisture levels, aiding in efficient water resource management and agricultural planning.
  5. Global Ecosystem Studies: NISAR’s observations will extend beyond Earth, contributing to our understanding of the broader universe. The mission will study various cosmic phenomena, including pulsars, supernovae, and dark matter, providing valuable data for astrophysical research.
Know about ISRO and NASA Collaborative Project: NISAR

Key facts about NISAR:

  • NISAR is a collaborative effort between ISRO and NASA, symbolizing the spirit of international cooperation in space exploration. Both agencies bring their unique expertise and resources to the table, enhancing the mission’s overall capabilities. The partnership ensures a shared commitment to scientific discovery and the advancement of space exploration for the benefit of humanity.
  • Cost of NISAR Project USD 1.5 billion (₹12,505 crore in Indian currency.)
  • The NISAR observatory carries a 12m wide deployable mesh reflector mounted onto a deployable 9m boom developed by JPL which shall be used by both-JPL-NASA developed L-Band SAR payload system and ISRO developed S-Band SAR payload.
  • NISAR is likely to be launched till June 2024, and will use its advanced radar imaging technology to map the elevation and movement of Earth’s land masses and ice sheets four to six times a month, at a resolution of 5-10 metres.
  • This flagship partnership would have major contributions from both agencies. NASA is responsible for providing the L-Band SAR payload system in which the ISRO supplied S-Band SAR payload and both these SAR systems will make use of a large size (about 12m diameter) common unfurl able reflector antenna . In addition, NASA would provide engineering payloads for the mission, including a Payload Data Subsystem, High-rate Science Downlink System, GPS receivers and a Solid State Recorder.
  • The selection of L- and S-band frequencies will enable characterizing targets beneath tree canopy and sub-surface features due to differential penetration of the signals in two frequency NISAR studying concepts for a Synthetic Aperture Radar mission is to determine Earth change in three disciplines: ecosystems (vegetation and the carbon cycle), deformation (solid Earth studies), and cryosphere sciences (primarily as related to climatic drivers and effects on sea level NISAR will acquire data over the Indian Coasts and monitor annual changes in the bathymetry along the deltaic regions.

NISAR is being developed in three different phases:

  • The SIT-2 phase during which the SAR payloads and the Engineering Systems shall be independently developed in their respective soils.
  • The SIT-3 phase is when the SAR payload along with other related systems will get integrated to the Radar Instrument Structure and tested at JPL. Parallel activities of the spacecraft systems realization and testing is carried out at ISRO.
  • The subsequent activities of integrating IRIS with the spacecraft and evaluating it as observatory is carried out at ISRO. This phase is called the SIT-4 phase which is the on-going phase now. The IRIS is ready to be shipped from JPL and spacecraft is getting ready to receive its counterpart.
Know about ISRO and NASA Collaborative Project: NISAR

Mission Phases:

  1. The NISAR Observatory will be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre(SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota on the southeast coast of the Indian peninsula, on the GSLV expendable launch vehicle contributed by ISRO.
  2. The first 90 days after launch will be dedicated to commissioning, or in-orbit checkout (IOC), the objective of which is to prepare the observatory for science operations. Commissioning is divided into sub-phases of initial checkout (ISRO engineering systems and JPL engineering payload checkout), spacecraft checkout and instrument checkout.
  3. The science operations phase begins at the end of commissioning and extends for three years and contains all data collection required to achieve the L1 science objectives. During this phase, the science orbit will be maintained via regular maneuvers, scheduled to avoid or minimize conflicts with science observations. Extensive calibration and validation (CalVal) activities will take place throughout the first 5 months, with yearly updates of 1-month duration.


The NISAR mission represents a significant stride forward in our quest to comprehend the intricacies of our planet and the vastness of the universe. As ISRO and NASA join forces, the collaborative efforts of these space agencies promise to deliver groundbreaking data that will not only deepen our understanding of Earth but also contribute to the broader field of astrophysics. NISAR stands as a testament to humanity’s collective pursuit of knowledge, pushing the boundaries of space exploration for the betterment of our planet and future generations.

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