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 NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar)

  • NISAR has been built by space agencies of the US and India under a partnership agreement signed in 2014.

  • The satellite is likely to be launched later this year from Satish Dhawan Space Centre into a near-polar orbit.

  • The satellite will operate for a minimum of three years.

  • It is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory.

  • It can fully map the earth twice a month, measure water bodies, greenery, snow cover, track agricultural changes, desertification, and aid in the study of climate-related issues

  • NISAR will be the first radar of its kind in space to systematically map Earth, using two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes in our planet's surface less than a centimeter across.


  • It is a 2,800 kilograms satellite consisting of both L-band and S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments, which makes it a dual-frequency imaging radar satellite.

  • While NASA has provided the L-band radar, GPS, a high-capacity solid-state recorder to store data, and a payload data subsystem, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has provided the S-band radar, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) launch system and spacecraft.

  • S band radars operate on a wavelength of 8-15 cm and a frequency of 2-4 GHz. Because of the wavelength and frequency, they are not easily attenuated. This makes them useful for near and far range weather observation.

  • It has a 39-foot stationary antenna reflector, made of a gold-plated wire mesh; the reflector will be used to focus “the radar signals emitted and received by the upward-facing feed on the instrument structure.

  • By using SAR, NISAR will produce high-resolution images

  • SAR is capable of penetrating clouds and can collect data day and night regardless of the weather conditions.

  • NASA requires the L-band radar for its global science operations for at least three years. Meanwhile, ISRO will utilise the S-band radar for a minimum of five years.


  • The U.S. will contribute the large deployable antenna. 

  • It can fully cover the earth in approximately 14 to 15 days, in radar. 

  • It can monitor the tectonic movements to centimetre accuracy

  • It can measure water bodies accurately. 

  • It can look at water stressing on the earth, wherever there is deficiency of water. 

  • It can ground-penetrate to a certain depth

  • It is capable of monitoring the vegetation cover and snow cover

  • It, therefore, basically looks at the whole of the earth in terms of surface, water, greenery 

  • We can study climate change-related issues, agricultural changes through patterns, yield, desertification and continental movements precisely. 

  • So a lot of geological, agricultural and water-related observations can be obtained from the satellite



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: NISAR UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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