ISRO and NASA to jointly develop, launch satellite

ISRO and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are jointly developing a dual frequency (L&S band) synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite named as NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)

December 20, 2017

Data obtained from this satellite will be used in natural resources mapping and monitoring, estimation of agricultural biomass, monitoring of floods and oil slicks, among others

The satellite will help monitor coastline changes and variation of winds in coastal waters, assessment of mangroves, surface deformation, ice sheet dynamics, among others

While the data obtained from NISAR mission is not meant for building climate resilience, the application will help authorities take timely measures to minimise loss of human lives

ISRO, with one of the world’s largest fleet of communication satellites (INSAT) and remote sensing (IRS) satellites, has launched nearly 240 satellites for 28 countries so far

The Indian Space Research Organisation and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have entered into a partnership to jointly develop and launch a satellite, according to an official announcement on December 20th. The satellite being developed is a dual frequency (L&S band) synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite named NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR). The L-band SAR is being developed by JPL/NASA, while ISRO is developing the S-band SAR. The L&S band microwave data obtained from this satellite will be useful for variety of application such as natural resources mapping and monitoring, estimating agricultural biomass over full duration of crop cycle, assessing soil moisture, monitoring of floods and oil slicks.
The satellite will also help monitor coastal erosion, coastline changes and variation of winds in coastal waters, assessment of mangroves, surface deformation, ice sheet collapses and dynamics, among others. While the data obtained from NISAR mission is not meant for building climate resilience, the data acquired will be useful in developing certain applications such as identification of crevasses in the glaciers hidden by fresh snow, where human movement takes place; identification of snowpack parameters as an input in avalanche forecasts; study of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) hazards; and identification of inundated areas due to floods or cyclones. These applications could help authorities in taking timely measures to minimise loss of human lives as well as destruction of valuable assets.
ISRO, with one of the largest fleet of communication satellites (INSAT) and remote sensing (IRS) satellites, is one of the six largest space agencies in the world. India’s space programme stands out as one of the most efficient and cost-effective in the world. Incidentally, ISRO’s international partnerships have been steadily rising amid continuing successes of its satellite launches. The agency’s formal arrangements has expanded to 33 countries and three multinational bodies. ISRO has launched around 95 spacecraft missions and 65 launch missions so far. The agency has launched nearly 240 satellites for 28 countries.
Additionally, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has been collaborating with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, USA) in the development of high resolution seasonal and long-term climate forecasts through Monsoon Mission and Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR) programmes. Over 2010-15, the two organisations have jointly developed high resolution models for seasonal predictions of Indian Summer Monsoon and long term climate forecasts under a memorandum of understanding. This MoU, concerning the study of “Dynamical Short range, Extended Range and seasonal Prediction of Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall”, has been extended until 2020.

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