NISAR or the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar has been hitting the newspaper and news channel headlines. But what exactly is it? NISAR is the first ever satellite to be jointly built by the United States of America’s aeronautics and space research organization NASA and India’s esteemed space research organization ISRO. Presumed to be by far the world’s most expensive Earth Imaging Satellite to be developed, costing over 1.5 billion US dollars, the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar is designed to monitor our planet Earth like never before. It is designed to observe and understand the complex natural processes such as the ice sheet collapse, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and volcano eruptions.
As per the terms of agreement, NASA is working on the high rated communication subsystem, L- Band synthetic aperture radar used for GPS receivers, science data, payload data subsystem, and state recorder. While ISRO is assigned with the task of developing the satellite bus (S-band synthetic aperture Radar (SAR) and the launch vehicle and also with all the associated launch services of the satellite. The satellite would be making use of the large portable mesh antenna and will work on the dual L-band 24 centimeter RADAR and S-band 13 centimeter RADAR. The satellite will be equipped with a 12-meter aperture mesh reflector, which will be supplied by a Northrop Grumman company called Astro Aerospace.
The data which will be captured by the jointly built satellite would help the scientists from the two nations to hypothesize the mystery behind the evolution and the state of the planet’s crust, and would also help them to understand the planetary processes and the climatic changes. The data collected would give insights into the causes of disasters in the form of the motion of tectonic plates which causes earthquakes, the relation between the ice sheet melting and its effects on the sea level, the reason for the eruption of volcanoes and the effects of forest fire on the atmosphere. It would also help them to understand the changes in vegetation in agricultural lands and the forests. The information thus compiled would be used to aid in resource and disaster management.
The satellite, with 3 years of mission life, will most likely be launched from the Indian Soil aboard an Indian Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and will be injected into a sun synchronous dawn to dusk orbit.
The most awaited satellite to be launched in 2021 is witnessing the scientists from the two coveted organizations working round the clock to make the dream turn into reality.
The nations around the world have always prioritized the global cause of protecting the climate and have showcased it in the form of various signing agreements on climate change such as Kyoto Protocol, Montreal Protocol and latest one being the Paris Agreement.
As global warming caused by emission of gases and manmade forest fires affect the atmosphere and the society as a whole, the development of this satellite can be considered as a step taken by both these nations to understand and support the noble cause of saving our only planet.
India and the United States of America have always been supporting each other on various social causes and this collaboration is envisioned to open new avenues into the Indo-US relationship.