ISRO receives Indo-US jointly developed NISAR satellite

The United States (US) space agency NASA has handed over NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) earth observation satellite to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The satellite arrived from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California onboard a US Air Force’s C-17 aircraft.

More About the Mission

NISAR is the first-ever collaboration between NASA and ISRO on an Earth-observing mission. JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, leads the U.S. component of the project and is responsible for providing the L-Band SAR payload system in which the ISRO supplied S-Band SAR payload and both these SAR systems will make use of a large size (about 12m diameter) common unfurl able reflector antenna. In addition, NASA would provide engineering payloads for the mission, including a Payload Data Subsystem, High-rate Science Downlink System, GPS receivers and a Solid State Recorder.

The mission was envisioned by NASA and ISRO eight years ago in 2014 as a powerful demonstration of the capability of radar as a science tool and help us study Earth’s dynamic land and ice surfaces in greater detail than ever before.

NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days and provide spatially and temporally consistent data for understanding changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, ground water and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides. NISAR. It carries L and S dual band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which operates with Sweep SAR technique to achieve large swath with high resolution data. The SAR payloads mounted on Integrated Radar Instrument Structure (IRIS) and the spacecraft bus are together called an observatory. Jet Propulsion Laboratories and ISRO are realizing the observatory which shall not only meet the respective national needs but also will feed the science community with data encouraging studies related to surface deformation measurements through repeat-pass InSAR technique.

It is expected to be launched in January 2024 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre into a near-polar orbit. The satellite will operate for a minimum of three years. It is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory.

Image Source:

Mission Characteristics


Orbit Altitude 747 km
Orbit Inclination 98.4°
Repeat Cycle 12 days
Time of Nodal Crossing 6 AM/ 6 PM
Orbit Control < 500 m
Pointing Control < 273 arcsec
Pointing Left (south)
L/S Duty Cycle > 50%/10%
Baseline Mission Duration 3 years
Consumables 5 years
Data and Product Access Free & open
Wavelength L-band: 24 cm
S-band: 9 cm
SAR Resolution 3–10 m mode-dependent