In a major step towards forging the US-India ties in civil-space collaboration, a transport aircraft from the US air force carrying a NASA – ISRO satellite landed in Bengaluru Wednesday.
The C-17 transport plane airlifted off California with the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture (NISAR) satellite for a joint mission to measure changes in the Earth’s crust and land ice surfaces.
Touchdown in Bengaluru! @ISRO receives NISAR (@NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) on a @USAirforce C-17 from @NASAJPL in California, setting the stage for final integration of the Earth observation satellite, a true symbol of #USIndia civil space collaboration. #USIndiaTogether pic.twitter.com/l0a5pa1uxV
— U.S. Consulate General Chennai (@USAndChennai) March 8, 2023
The NISAR satellite will measure changes in the Earth’s ecosystems, helping researchers understand the consequences of land-surface changes, and will also spot warning signs of natural disasters like earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, sea level rise, etc.
India’s space agency ISRO will use the satellite to monitor glaciers in the Himalayas and landslide-prone areas.
The SUV-sized satellite weighs around 2,800 Kg and consists of both L and S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments.
The NISAR satellite can penetrate through clouds and can produce high-resolution images regardless of weather conditions.
According to NASA, the L-band SAR operates at a wavelength of 24 cm, allowing greater penetration into forests for more interaction between the radar signal and large branches and tree trunks.
The S-band SAR operates at a shorter wavelength of 12 cm and can see through objects like clouds and the leaves of a forest canopy that obstruct different types of instruments.
The satellite will likely be launched in 2024 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh into a near-pole orbit.