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Indo-US joint space mission satellite to come to India soon


BENGALURU: The payload integration of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) joint space mission, the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite, has been completed and set to undergo testing soon, Dr Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Director, said here on Wednesday.

The joint mission, whose aim to is be an earth observation satellite, has been years in the making and has a tentative launch date some time in 2023. When launched and in operation, NISAR will be the first radar imaging satellite using dual frequencies, and will be used for remote sensing to observe natural processes on Earth — including natural disasters and ones occurring due to climate change or natural disturbances. The satellite developed at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion is also set to be the world’s most expensive earth-imaging satellite.

The key point for the mission is that data collected will be available within hours of natural disasters occurring to help provide information for disaster management among other uses. With payload integration completed for the satellite and testing to be done soon in the US, the complete machinery will be sent to India later this year to be integrated with ISRO’s Geotationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark- II, which will launch the satellite into space.

“The main goal is to be able to distribute the data we get directly to the people, so that there can be direct and on-ground applications that the mission helps,” Dr Karen St Germain, director of the Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate at NASA, told TNIE. Dr St Germain and Dr Zurbuchen were speaking at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, on Wednesday.