NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) are one of the most admired space agencies know in today’s world (not to forget about ROSCOSMOS and ESA). While NASA is known throughout the world for its diverse missions (Voyagers, New Horizons, Cassini, Juno and many more to count on). In the meantime, ISRO is gearing up by creating the most cost-effective and marvelous launches known till date. But what if these two space agencies were to come together and work on a single project..? Well, that’s what NISAR is all about!
NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) mission is a joint project between NASA and ISRO to co-develop and launch a dual-frequency synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite with the hopes of understanding our home planet in a better perspective than ever before.
KEY FACTS ABOUT NISAR:
- NISAR is designed to map out earth’s entire land and ice masses 4 to 6 times a month and possibly provide an explanation for planet’s most complex geological problems, including natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and even the mysteries to their origin.
2. NISAR will use Advance Radar Imaging to provide mankind with the finest and crispier view of the earth than ever achieved, with a staggering resolution of 5-10 m/pixel(For example, Google Earth has a peak resolution of 15m/pixel!). Moreover,all the data from NISAR would be freely available within 1-2 days of any natural disaster, if any.
3. The Project has an allocated budget of over $1 Billion, making it the most expensive earth-imaging satellite till date. ISRO’s share of the project cost is about US$110 million, and NASA’s share is about US$808 million.
4. NISAR is planned to be launched by 2021 aboard a GSLV MKII (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II) from Satish Dhawan Space center located in India. The mission will have a payload mass of 2800 kg and will be suspended in a Sun-Synchronous orbit. It has a life expectancy of about 3 years.
5. The satellite consists of a L Band and a S-Band Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), operating at the frequencies of 1.25 GHz and 3.2 GHz respectively. While NASA will be providing the L-band SAR, a payload data subsystem, a solid state recorder, and GPS receiver, ISRO will provide the Launch Vehicle and S-Band SAR.
Planned Launch Date: 2022
The NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) Mission will measure Earth’s changing ecosystems, dynamic surfaces, and ice masses providing information about biomass, natural hazards, sea level rise, and groundwater, and will support a host of other applications.
NISAR will observe Earth’s land and ice-covered surfaces globally with 12-day regularity on ascending and descending passes, sampling Earth on average every 6 days for a baseline 3-year mission.