What is the NISAR Mission?
- Space agencies of the US and India built NISAR under a partnership agreement signed in 2014.
- They plan to launch it 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.
- NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days.
- It is a 2,800 kilograms satellite consisting of both L-band and S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments. This makes it a dual-frequency imaging radar satellite.
- While NASA has provided the L-band radar, GPS, a high-capacity solid-state recorder to store data, and a payload data subsystem. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has provided the S-band radar, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle launch system and spacecraft.
- S-band radars operate on a wavelength of 8-15 cm and a frequency of 2-4 GHz. Because of the wavelength and frequency, they are not easily attenuated. This makes them useful for near and far-range weather observation.
- The instrument structure will use a 39-foot stationary antenna reflector, made of a gold-plated wire mesh, to focus the radar signals emitted and received by the upward-facing feed.
- By using SAR, NISAR will produce high-resolution images. SAR is capable of penetrating clouds and can collect data day and night regardless of the weather conditions.
- NASA requires the L-band radar for its global science operations for at least three years. Meanwhile, ISRO will utilise the S-band radar for a minimum of five years.
What are the Expected Benefits of NISAR?
- Earth Science: NISAR will provide a wealth of data and information about the Earth’s surface changes, natural hazards, and ecosystem disturbances. It will help to advance our understanding of Earth system processes and climate change.
- Disaster Management: The mission will provide critical information to help manage natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. It will enable faster response times and better risk assessments.
- Agriculture: NISAR data will improve agriculture management and food security by offering information about crop growth, soil moisture, and land-use changes.
- Infrastructure Monitoring: The mission will provide data for infrastructure monitoring and management, such as monitoring of oil spills, urbanization, and deforestation.
- Climate Change: NISAR will help to monitor and understand the impacts of climate change on the Earth’s land surface, including melting glaciers, sea-level rise, and changes in carbon storage.
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