India-US space project NISAR trial done at Isro facility, launch likely in 2024
NISAR is a low earth orbit observatory jointly developed by NASA and Isro to map the globe in 12 days
New Delhi: Indian-US partnered NASA-Isro Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), which is likely to be launched early next year, completed a key trial at Isro’s compact antenna test facility, NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) (JPJet Propulsion LaboratoryL) said in a statement on Wednesday.
“NISAR completed 20 days of testing in the chamber, where engineers found that the radio signals from the two radar systems’ antennas passed requirements. The blue foam spikes lining the walls, floor, and ceiling prevent radio waves from bouncing around the room and interfering with measurement,” the statement read.
It added, “The test was followed by a 21-day trial in a thermal vacuum chamber that showed the spacecraft can function in the extreme temperatures and the vacuum of space.”
JPL also confirmed that after further tests, the satellite will be transported about 220 miles (350 kilometres) eastward to Satish Dhawan Space Centre, where it will be inserted into its launch faring, mounted atop Isro’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II rocket, and sent into low-Earth orbit.
NISAR is a low earth orbit (LEO) observatory being jointly developed by NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to map the entire globe in 12 days and provide spatially and temporally consistent data for understanding changes in earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, ground water and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.
It carries L and S dual band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which operates with Sweep SAR technique to observe large swaths with high resolution data. The SAR payloads mounted on integrated radar instrument structure (IRIS) and the spacecraft bus are together called an observatory.
NASA’s JPL and Isro are realising the observatory, which shall not only meet the respective national needs but also will feed the science community with data encouraging studies related to surface deformation measurements through repeat-pass InSAR technique, the space agency said in a statement earlier this year during the payload handover ceremony at JPL early this year.
It will also track other processes, including the dynamics of forests, wetlands, and agricultural lands.
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