ISRO has finished developing a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capable of generating extremely high-resolution photos for a joint earth observation satellite mission associated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States (NASA). NISAR (NASA-ISRO SAR) is a joint NASA-ISRO project to develop a dual-frequency L and S-band SAR for earth observation.
According to NASA, “NISAR will be the first satellite mission to use two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes in our planet’s surface less than a centimetre across”.
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NASA and Bengaluru-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) signed a partnership on September 30, 2014, to collaborate on and launch NISAR.
The mission is targeted to launch in early 2022 from ISRO’s Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district, about 100 km north of Chennai. NASA is providing the mission’s L-band SAR, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, a solid-state recorder, and payload data subsystem.
The payload has been shipped from ISRO’s Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC) to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at Pasadena in the US for integration with the latter’s L-band SAR payload, an ISRO statement said.
“NISAR would provide a means of disentangling highly spatial and temporally complex processes ranging from ecosystem disturbances to ice sheet collapses and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides”, ISRO said.
“NISAR will observe Earth’s land and ice-covered surfaces globally with 12-day regularity on ascending and descending passes, sampling Earth on average every six days for a baseline three-year mission”, NASA said on the mission’s website.
“This allows the mission to observe a wide range of Earth processes, from the flow rates of glaciers and ice sheets to the dynamics of earthquakes and volcanoes. NISAR uses a sophisticated information-processing technique known as SAR to produce extremely high-resolution images.” According to reports.
Because radar can see through clouds and darkness, NISAR can collect information at any time of day or night, in any climate. The imaging swath of the instrument, defined as the width of the data strip collected along with the size of the orbit track, is larger than 150 miles (240 kilometres), allowing it to picture the entire Globe in 12 days, according to NASA.
According to NASA, the data collected during the mission will allow us to get a better idea about the cause and effects of land surface changes, enhancing our capacity to maintain resources and prepare for and cope with global change.
“NASA requires a minimum of three years of global science operations with the L-band radar and ISRO requires five years of operations with the S-band radar over specified target areas in India and the Southern Ocean”, it said.