NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) Satellite

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • ISRO conducted a successful 21-day-long thermal vacuum test in preparation for the satellite’s launch in 2024. The test was performed in a facility that simulates the expected flight conditions.



  • NISAR is a joint project developed by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).
  • It is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory designed for Earth observation.

Mission Objectives

  • NISAR’s primary objective is to map the entire globe in just 12 days.
  • It provides consistent data for understanding changes in Earth’s ecosystems and ice mass.
  • NISAR is equipped with both L-band and S-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instruments.
  • L-band radars are used for clear air turbulence studies, while S-band radars are useful for weather observation.
  • The satellite features a 39-foot gold mesh antenna reflector that focuses radar signals from the upward-facing instrument.


  • NISAR’s large imaging area (>240km) enables it to capture full-earth images in just 12 days.
  • It offers high precision and resolution (<1cm) due to its dual-band radar systems.
  • NISAR monitors various regions, including Indian coasts, Antarctica, and deltaic regions, for changes in bathymetry.
  • It observes disturbances in ecosystems, ice sheet collapses, and natural hazards, providing valuable data for Earth science and environmental monitoring.
  • These points highlight the mission objectives and significance of the NISAR satellite in Earth observation and environmental monitoring.


  • Measurement of forest cover and land usage.
  • Monitoring of oil and gas exploration activities.
  • Assessment of water resources, including changes in water bodies.
  • Tracking the source and epicentre of earthquakes.
  • Monitoring landslides and oil spills.
  • Mapping the aftermath and impact of disasters for effective response.
  • Observing changes in permafrost conditions.
  • Monitoring shifts in ice sheets and glaciers.
  • Tracking Cryospheric changes for climate and environmental research.

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