General Studies IIISpace

NISAR mission


NASA and ISRO are jointly developing a satellite called NISAR that will detect movements of the planet’s surface.


The satellite is a part of joint observation mission between India and USA to monitor global surface and identify changes.


  • NISAR is short for NASA-ISRO-SAR. SAR refers to the synthetic aperture radar that NASA will be using to identify changes in the surface of the Earth.

  • SAR is a technique for producing high-resolution images. The radar has the capacity to penetrate clouds and darkness, which allows it to collect data day and night in any weather.

  • The satellite will be launched in 2022 into a near-polar orbit and will traverse the Earth every 12 days.

  • It will have a life time of three years and during its course, it will image land, ice sheets and sea ice to give a detailed view.

  • The research partnership between NASA and ISRO was started in September 2014 under which NASA will develop one of the radars for the satellite, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers and a payload data subsystem. 

  • ISRO on the other hand is concerned with spacecraft bus, the second type of radar (called the S-band radar), the launch vehicle and related launch services.

  • NISAR will have the largest reflector antenna. Primary goals of the programme include tracking small changes in the Earth’s surface, identifying warning signs of volcanic eruptions, helping to identify groundwater supplies and predicting the rate at which ice sheets are melting.


  • Images produced through the mission will show local changes and will provide measure of regional trends. 

  • The collected data will ensure better understanding of the causes and consequences of land surface changes.

  • The images capture will show changes on Earth’s surface. If too much ground water is used, the land will collapse and such events will be visible to scientists.

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