Later this month, Nasa officials will move the dual-band payload into a special cargo container for the flight to Bengaluru’s U R Rao Satellite Centre. There it will be merged with the spacecraft bus in preparation for its launch from the Indian soil. Since early 2021, engineers and technicians at JPL have been integrating and testing NISAR’s two radar systems – the L-band SAR provided by Nasa’s JPL and the S-band SAR built by Isro.
JPL director Leshin said, “This (send-off) marks an important milestone in our shared journey to better understand planet Earth and our changing climate. NISAR will provide critical information on Earth’s crust, ice sheets, and ecosystems. By delivering measurements at unprecedented precision, NISAR’s promise is a new understanding and a positive impact in communities. Our collaboration with Isro exemplifies what’s possible when we tackle complex challenges together.” The Isro chief, Indian ambassador and deputy chief of mission Sripriya Ranganathan, and Nasa officials toured the High Bay 2 clean room, where engineers were putting the payload through the final testing. Also present was Bhavya Lal, Nasa’s associate administrator for technology, policy, and strategy.
The Isro chairman said, “Today we come one step closer to fulfilling the immense scientific potential Nasa and Isro envisioned for NISAR when we joined forces more than eight years ago. This mission will be a powerful demonstration of the capability of radar as a science tool and help us study Earth’s dynamic land and ice surfaces in greater detail than ever before.”
NISAR is a low earth orbit observatory and carries L and S dual band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which operates with Sweep SAR technique to achieve large swaths with high resolution data. Over the course of its three-year prime mission, the satellite, which carries a 12m wide deployable mesh reflector mounted onto a deployable 9m boom, will observe nearly the entire planet every 12 days, making observations day and night, in all weather conditions. The satellite will help researchers measure ways in which Earth is constantly changing by detecting both subtle and dramatic movements. Slow-moving variations of a land surface can precede earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions, and data about such movement could help countries prepare for natural hazards, Nasa said.