India & US announce joint microwave remote sensing satellite for earth observation

# NASA-ISRO observing satellite (NISAR) can track entire earth in 12 days

New Delhi: India and the United States have unveiled plans for a groundbreaking joint satellite mission named NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar).

The announcement was made during a high-level meeting held in New Delhi, where India’s Science and Technology Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh, met with a delegation led by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Under the collaborative efforts of India’s ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) and NASA, a spacecraft is currently under development in Bengaluru, India, with a planned launch in early 2024.

NISAR represents a cutting-edge technology that will allow for highly detailed tracking of land and ice surface movements and is set to provide comprehensive coverage of nearly every region on Earth at least once every 12 days, enabling scientists to gain invaluable insights into the dynamics of forests, wetlands, agricultural lands, and more.

During the meeting, Dr Jitendra Singh highlighted India’s burgeoning presence in the global space sector, particularly in the realm of space startups, under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He emphasised that in a mere four-year span, India has seen an exponential growth in the number of space startups, soaring from single digits to a remarkable tally of over 150, showcasing the nation’s unwavering commitment to advancing space technology.

The Department of Space issued an official statement elucidating the goals and objectives of the NISAR mission, which is slated for launch aboard India’s GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle). This state-of-the-art satellite will play a pivotal role in gathering crucial data for comprehensive Earth studies, encompassing aspects such as land ecosystems, solid Earth deformation, mountainous terrains, polar cryosphere, sea ice dynamics, and coastal oceans, all on a regional to global scale.

During the discussions, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson urged Dr. Jitendra to expedite the programme involving India’s inaugural astronaut’s journey aboard a NASA rocket to the International Space Station (ISS).

The two nations had previously inked an agreement to collaborate on a two-week joint India-US spaceflight, scheduled for the upcoming year. This landmark agreement was forged during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States earlier in the year, signalling a deepening partnership between the two nations in the realm of space exploration.

The NISAR satellite project stands as a remarkable testament to international cooperation, leveraging the collective expertise and resources of India and the United States to further our comprehension of Earth’s dynamic processes and ecosystems.

As the launch date approaches in the coming months, the global scientific community and space enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the groundbreaking revelations that NISAR will unveil about the intricate workings of our planet.

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