NISAR MISSION (Syllabus GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     22nd January 2024        

Context: The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, designed to observe natural processes and changes in earth’s complex ecosystems, is on track for an “early 2024” launch.

NISAR Mission

  • 'NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar' (NISAR)
  • Joint Development: NISAR, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory, is a collaborative effort between NASA and ISRO.
  • Size and Weight: This SUV-sized satellite boasts a weight of 2,800 kilograms.
  • Dual-Frequency Radar: NISAR features both L-band and S-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instruments, making it a unique dual-frequency imaging radar satellite.
  • Capabilities: To utilize two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) for monitoring and measuring changes in the Earth's surface.
  • All-Weather Observations: The SAR instruments on NISAR are adept at penetrating clouds and can gather data day and night, regardless of prevailing weather conditions.
  • Contributions: In the collaborative project, NASA has contributed the L-band radar, GPS, a high-capacity solid-state recorder, and a payload data subsystem. Meanwhile, ISRO has provided the S-band radar, the GSLV launch system, and the spacecraft.
  • Gold-Plated Reflector: NISAR incorporates a substantial 39-foot stationary antenna reflector constructed from gold-plated wire mesh. 
  • This reflector plays a crucial role in focusing the radar signals emitted and received by the upward-facing feed on the instrument structure.