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NISAR Satellite, Objective, Features and Functions

Context: The NISAR satellite was originally planned for launch in July, now been delayed to October-November due to issues on the U.S. side, requiring corrections to the spacecraft.

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)

  • Development: NISAR is a satellite jointly developed by NASA and ISRO for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observation.
  • Size and Weight: It is an SUV-sized satellite, weighing around 2,800 kilograms.

NISAR Satellite, Objective, Features and Functions_4.1

Details About NISAR Satellite

  • Objective: To monitor tectonic movements, water bodies, water stress, vegetation cover, snow cover, and more.
    • Earth Surface Monitoring: Tracks subtle changes in the Earth’s surface.
    • Volcanic Eruptions: Spots warning signs of imminent volcanic eruptions.
    • Groundwater Monitoring: Helps monitor groundwater supplies.
    • Ice Sheet Tracking: Tracks the rate at which ice sheets are melting.
  • Duration: 3 years.
  • Function: Can fully cover Earth in 14-15 days.
    • Imaging Frequency: Captures images of Earth’s land, ice sheets, and sea ice every 12 days.
    • Surface Movement Detection: Detects the earth’s surface movement as small as 0.4 inches over an area.

Features of NISAR Satellite

  • Dual Frequency: Equipped with L-band and S-band radars.
    • NASA Contribution: L-band radar, GPS, solid-state recorder, and payload data subsystem.
    • ISRO Contribution: S-band radar, GSLV launch system, and spacecraft.
  • Antenna Reflector: Features a large 39-foot fixed antenna reflector to focus radar signals emitted and received by the upward-facing feed on the instrument structure.
Other Missions by ISRO

  • Conceptual stage, aims to bring back samples from the moon.
  • Part of a series of missions leading to a manned lunar landing by 2040.
  • Requires a new rocket and innovative methods for sample collection and return.

Spadex (Space Docking Experiment):

  • Involves two satellites docking in space.
  • Satellites have been built and are undergoing testing.
  • Targets a launch by the end of the year.
  • Precursor to the ISRO building a space station.

Gaganyaan Mission:

  • Helicopter airdrop tests of the crew module are ongoing.
  • Preparing for the unmanned mission (G-1) and abort test.
  • Four astronauts will be sent to the U.S. for training.
  • One astronaut will fly to the International Space Station.

Sukhrayaan Mission:

  • Aims to send a probe to Venus.
  • Designs and configurations are complete.
  • Awaiting government approval. 

New Application Areas for Satellites

  • Bharatiya Antariksha Station: Planned space station with the first module launch targeted by 2028.
  • New Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV): Named Surya, under development.
  • Quantum Key Distribution Satellite: Aimed at secure communication.
  • Software-Defined Radio Satellite: A communication satellite in development.
  • Aircraft Monitoring Constellation (ADS): A satellite constellation to monitor all aircraft in Indian airspace and assist airport authorities in managing air traffic.

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