In 2024, the NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite will be launched into a near-polar Earth orbit using Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-II rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Center located on India’s southeastern coast. The satellite’s science payload will be integrated with its body for the launch.
For the NISAR Earth science mission its science payload of two radar systems, one built by ISRO and the other one by NASA have reached India. These two payloads have come from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California to Indian space agency’s UR Rao Satellite Centre located in Bengaluru.
In March 2021, the S-band radar was constructed by ISRO and transported to JPL. For a period of two years, JPL engineers dedicated a significant amount of time to integrating the S-band radar supplied by ISRO into the instrument with the L-band system constructed by JPL, known as Science Payload, followed by a series of tests to confirm their compatibility.
Once the compatibility test was confirmed, the JPL engineers exported the science payload back to India via a specially designed container in late February 2023 via a C-17 military transport aircraft which landed in Bengaluru on the 6th of March.
According to an official statement shared by JPL, for its three year mission, the teams at the facility will combine the radar systems with the satellite’s body, or bus, and run it through a series of tests.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier that this satellite will work along the lines of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel 1.
Also Read: Eye in the Sky: ISRO and NASA Develop World’s First Dual Frequency Radar — NISAR
ISRO is launching NISAR, which will deploy the most advanced radar system ever on a NASA science mission.
This satellite twice every 12 days will observe almost all of Earth’s land and ice surfaces. It will measure movements in very fine detail.
Objectives of NISAR
The NISAR would closely focus on forest and agricultural zones, which in turn will assist in estimating the exchange of atmosphere with plants for the scientists.
Mission NISAR was envisioned by NASA and ISRO eight years ago, in 2014, as a powerful demonstration of the capability of radar as a science tool to help study Earth’s occupied land and ice surfaces in detail.
This will be the first satellite mission in which two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) will be used on the science payload. This will be to measure changes in the planet’s surface in less than a centimeter.
The Science payload of NISAR is set to launch as part of a NASA science mission and will include the most sophisticated radar system (L-band and S-band) ever launched.
This system will have the biggest radar antenna of its kind, which will be nearly 40 feet (12 meters) in diameter and drum-shaped with a wire mesh reflector. And according to the official statement the antenna will extend from a 30-foot (9-meter) boom.
The dual-frequency imaging satellite that uses synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to produce high-resolution images capable of penetrating clouds can collect data day and night regardless of weather conditions.
With this implementation, we can effectively understand the flow rates between the glaciers and the ice sheets with changes in the range of earthquakes and volcanoes.
About NISAR Science Payload
Science Payload combines the S-band and L-band systems, which are embedded in the satellite and sent to space. NISAR science payload will fit in two synthetic aperture radar instruments:
24 cm wavelengths L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (L-SAR) from NASA.
A 10-cm-wavelength S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (S-SAR) is provided by the ISRO.
NISAR has a 240 km swath, 7 m resolution along the track, and 2-8 m resolution cross-track (depending on mode).
In addition, NASA is furnishing several essential components for this project, including the radar reflector antenna, the deployable boom, a high-speed communication subsystem for scientific data, GPS receivers, a reliable solid-state recorder, and the payload data subsystem.
Along with the S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is furnishing the spacecraft bus and launch vehicle and the corresponding launch services and satellite mission operations.