NASA and ISRO to launch NISAR mission in 2024

News Excerpt:

The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission's engineers and scientists have finished several critical tests, such as the thermal vacuum testing, in preparation for the mission's launch in the first quarter of 2024.

About NISAR Mission:

  • NISAR is a Low Earth Orbit observatory that ISRO and NASA built together. 
  • It is scheduled to launch from Sriharikota's Satish Dhawan Space Centre using ISRO's GSLV Mark-II launch vehicle.
  • The $1.5-billion NISAR’s mission life is for three years and the satellite will survey all of Earth’s land and ice-covered surfaces every 12 days and this starts after a 90-day satellite commissioning period.
  • NISAR carries L and S dual-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which operates with the Sweep SAR technique to achieve large swaths with high-resolution data. 
    • The SAR payloads mounted on Integrated Radar Instrument Structure (IRIS) and the spacecraft bus are together called an observatory.
  • NASA is providing the mission’s L-band SAR. NASA is also providing the radar reflector antenna, the deployable boom, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, a solid-state recorder, and a payload data subsystem. 
  • ISRO is providing the spacecraft bus, the S-band SAR electronics, the launch vehicle, and associated launch services and satellite mission operations.

Significance of the mission:

  • The mission aims to address climate change, disaster response, and assessing damage due to natural calamities.
  • NISAR data will help researchers monitor a wide range of changes in unprecedented detail which includes - 
    • Spotting warning signs of imminent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, 
    • Helping monitor the effects of groundwater use such as land subsidence
    • Tracking the melt rate of ice sheets tied to sea level rise
    • Observing shifts in the distribution of vegetation around the earth.
    • Study Earth’s global carbon cycle and climate change
    • Track dynamic changes in forests, wetlands, and agricultural lands.

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