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NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite (NISAR)

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite (NISAR)

Why in news?

  • NASA and ISRO are collaborating on developing an SUV-sized satellite called NISAR, which will detect movements of the planet’s surface as small as 0.4 inches over areas about half the size of a tennis court.
  • The satellite will be launched in 2022 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh) into a near-polar orbit.


  • NISAR is the world’s most expensive Earth-imaging satellite.
  • NISAR is dual frequency RADAR, it is an L-band and S-band RADAR.
  • Itis the first such satellite using dual frequency RADAR.
  • The S-band is being built by ISRO and L-band by NASA.
  • lt is expected that the NISAR satellite will be launched in 2022 from India using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
  • The NASA is to share 808 million USD for the project and India is to share 110 million USD for the project.

Role of NASA

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA – space agency of the USA) will provide one of the radars for the satellite, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers and a payload data subsystem.
  • NISAR will be equipped with the largest reflector antenna ever launched by NASA.

Role of ISRO

  • Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) will provide the spacecraft bus, the second type of radar (called the S-band radar), the launch vehicle and associated launch services.

Objectives | NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite (NISAR)

  • One of the main purposes of the mission is to observe Earth and establish a general pathway for future joint missions for Mars exploration
  • It will scan the globe every 12 days over the course of its three-year mission of imaging the Earth’s land, ice sheets and sea ice to give an unprecedented view of the planet.
  • Tracking subtle changes in the Earth’s surface
  • Spotting warning signs of imminent volcanic eruptions
  • Helping to monitor groundwater supplies
  • Tracking the rate at which ice sheets are melting
  • Monitoring Changes in vegetation over land in agriculture and forests.


  • NISAR’s data can help people worldwide better manage natural resources and hazards, as well as providing information for scientists to better understand the effects and pace of climate change.
  • The images will be detailed enough to show local changes and broad enough to measure regional trends.
  • As the mission continues for years, the data will allow for better understanding of the causes and consequences of land surface changes.
  • It will also add to our understanding of our planet’s hard outer layer, called its crust. NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite (NISAR)


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