NISAR Satellite Program

NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory that NASA and ISRO are growing together.

NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days and provide spatially and temporally consistent data to help scientists understand changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, groundwater, and natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides.

It is equipped with L and S dual-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) that uses the Sweep SAR technique to obtain large swaths of high-resolution data.


An observatory is made up of SAR payloads mounted on the Integrated Radar Instrument Structure (IRIS) and the spacecraft bus.

The observatory is being built by Jet Propulsion Laboratories and ISRO to not only meet the respective national needs but also to feed the science community with data that will encourage studies related to surface deformation measurements using the repeat-pass InSAR technique.

Both agencies would make significant contributions to this flagship collaboration. NASA is in charge of providing the L-Band SAR payload system, while ISRO is in charge of providing the S-Band SAR payload, and both of these SAR systems will use a large (about 12m diameter) common unfillable reflector antenna.

NASA might additionally deliver engineering payloads for the mission, along with a Payload Data Subsystem, a High-fee Science Downlink System, and GPS. 

The NISAR observatory is equipped with a 12m wide deployable mesh reflector mounted on a JPL-developed deployable 9m boom, which will be used by both.

NISAR Satellite

The L-Band SAR payload system was developed by JPL-NASA, and the S-Band SAR payload was developed by ISRO.

The S-SAR and L-SAR tiles, as well as their electronics and data handling systems, are housed on the IRIS. All attitude and orbit control elements, power systems, and thermal management systems are included in the spacecraft.

JPL will also supply the LSAR Data Handling System, the High-rate Science Data Downlink System, GPS receivers, and a Solid State Recorder.

ISRO is in charge of the SSAR data handling system, the High rate downlink system, the spacecraft bus systems, the GSLV launch system, and Mission Operations Related Services.


NASA ISRO Under a partnership agreement signed in 2014, the space agencies of the United States and India have worked together to build NISAR.

The satellite, weighing 2,800 kilograms, is equipped with SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) instruments in the L and S bands, making it a dual-frequency radar satellite.

ISRO provided the S-band radar, GSLV launch system, and spacecraft, while NASA provided the L-band radar, GPS, high-performance solid-state recorder for data archiving, and payload data subsystem large satellite of the satellite.


It is also important to, have a 39-meter mirror antenna. The reflector, which is made of gold-plated wire mesh, is used to “focus radar signals that are transmitted and received through an uplink channel onto the instrument structure,” according to NASA.

After launching into space, NISAR will observe subtle changes on the Earth’s surface, which will allow scientists to better understand the causes and consequences of such phenomena.

It will recognize warning signs of natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides. The satellite will also measure groundwater levels, track glacier, and ice cap flows, and monitor the planet’s forests and agricultural regions to help us understand carbon trading.

ISRO will use NISAR for a variety of purposes including agricultural mapping and monitoring of Himalayan glaciers, landslide-prone areas, and coastal alterations.

NISAR will create high-resolution images using synthetic aperture radar (SAR).SAR can penetrate clouds and collect data at any time of the day or night, regardless of the weather.


According to NASA, “The instrument’s imaging range — the width of a series of data collected along its orbit — is more than 150 miles (240 kilometers), allowing it to see the entire Earth in 12 days.” NISAR is expected to be launched into near-polar orbit from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in January 2024.

The satellite will be operational for at least three years. NASA will require L-band radar for at least three years to conduct global scientific operations.

In the meantime, ISRO will use the S-band radar for at least five years. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have collaborated on the development of the Earth observation satellite NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar).

The SUV-sized satellite will be delivered to India later this month in a special container flight for launch in 2024 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Andhra Pradesh.

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