ISRO Missions and Discoveries

NASA-ISRO NISAR Mission Prepares for Launch


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) missionv

Mains level : NA


Central Idea

  • The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, a collaborative effort between NASA and ISRO, is on track for its scheduled launch in the first quarter of 2024.

About the NISAR Mission

  • Collaboration: NISAR is a Low Earth Orbit observatory developed jointly by NASA and ISRO, highlighting international collaboration in space exploration.
  • Launch Vehicle: The mission is set to launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota onboard ISRO’s GSLV Mark-II launch vehicle.
  • Data Utility: NISAR data will offer unprecedented detail and assist researchers in various ways, including monitoring volcanic activity, tracking groundwater use effects, measuring ice sheet melt rates, and observing changes in global vegetation distribution.
  • Mission Duration: The $1.5-billion NISAR mission has a planned mission life of three years and will survey Earth’s land and ice-covered surfaces every 12 days following a 90-day commissioning period.

Advanced SAR Technology

  • Dual-Band SAR: NISAR carries L and S dual-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) using the Sweep SAR technique, providing both wide coverage and high-resolution data.
  • Observatory Structure: The SAR payloads are mounted on the Integrated Radar Instrument Structure (IRIS) along with the spacecraft bus, forming an observatory.
  • Contributions: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) provides the L-band SAR and several key components, while ISRO’s U R Rao Satellite Centre contributes the spacecraft bus, S-band SAR electronics, launch vehicle, and mission operations.

Key milestones achieved

  • Thermal Vacuum Testing: The thermal vacuum testing, a critical system-level test, was successfully completed in Bengaluru. This test ensures that the spacecraft can operate effectively under extreme temperature conditions.
  • EMI and EMC Testing: Electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing have also been successfully accomplished.
  • Upcoming Vibration Tests: The next phase involves conducting vibration tests to simulate the harsh launch environment. This test will subject the satellite to intense vibrations while mimicking the conditions of a rocket launch.

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