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NISAR Satellite

Why is it in the news?

  • The NISAR satellite, a joint project between NASA and ISRO signed in 2014, is slated for launch in March 2024 to monitor natural processes and changes in Earth’s ecosystems.

NISAR satellite


  • The NISAR satellite stands for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar.
  • It is a collaborative effort between NASA and ISRO for Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
  • The satellite is approximately the size of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) and weighs around 2,800 kilograms.


  • Tracking subtle changes in the Earth’s surface is one of the primary objectives of the NISAR satellite.
  • It aims to identify warning signs of imminent volcanic eruptions, helping to mitigate potential disasters.
  • Monitoring groundwater supplies is another crucial function, contributing to better water resource management.
  • Additionally, the satellite will track the rate at which ice sheets are melting, providing valuable data for climate research.


  • Its mission life is expected to span three years, during which it will collect data and transmit information back to Earth.
  • The satellite will capture images of Earth’s land, ice sheets, and sea ice at regular intervals, approximately every 12 days.
  • It is equipped with advanced technology that enables it to detect even minor movements on the Earth’s surface, with a precision of up to 0.4 inches over a given area.


  • One of the notable features of the NISAR satellite is its dual-frequency capability, operating in both L-band and S-band frequencies.
  • Components contributed by NASA include the L-band radar, GPS system, solid-state recorder, and payload data subsystem.
  • ISRO’s contributions include the S-band radar, GSLV launch system, and spacecraft itself.
  • The satellite is equipped with a large 39-foot fixed antenna reflector, which plays a crucial role in focusing radar signals for data collection.

Significance of the Mission

  • Earth Observation: The NISAR satellite will provide detailed observations of Earth’s surface, facilitating the monitoring of changes in ice sheets, land deformation, and ecosystems.
  • Disaster Management: By offering vital data for managing natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, the mission will help improve response time and risk assessments.
  • Agriculture: Data collected by NISAR will enhance agriculture management and food security by providing insights into crop growth, soil moisture levels, and changes in land use.
  • Climate Change: The satellite’s observations will contribute to monitoring and understanding the impacts of climate change on Earth’s land surface, including glacier melting, sea-level rise, and changes in carbon storage.

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