New Delhi, Nov 28: Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh announced that India and the US are set to launch the joint NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) for Earth observation in the first quarter of the upcoming year. The announcement came during a meeting with a high-level NASA delegation led by Administrator Mr. Bill Nelson in New Delhi.
The NISAR satellite, slated to be launched aboard India’s GSLV, will provide crucial data for studying land ecosystems, solid earth deformation, mountain and polar cryosphere, sea ice, and coastal oceans on a regional to global scale.
The integration of ISRO’s S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) with NASA’s L-band SAR is currently undergoing testing at URSC, Bangalore, with active participation from NASA/JPL officials.
During the meeting, Mr. Nelson congratulated Dr. Jitendra Singh on the historic Chandrayaan-3 landing on the Moon’s virgin South Polar region. He also urged the acceleration of India’s first astronaut program aboard a NASA rocket to the International Space Station (ISS).
The two sides had previously agreed to launch a joint India-US spaceflight next year, with NASA identifying an opportunity for Indian astronauts in a Private Astronaut Mission in 2024.
ISRO and NASA have established a Joint Working Group (JWG) on human spaceflight cooperation, exploring areas such as radiation impact studies, micro-meteorite, and orbital debris shield studies, as well as space health and medicine aspects.
Additionally, ISRO is in discussions with prominent US industries like Boeing, Blue Origin, and Voyager for specific cooperation items and exploring collaborations with Indian commercial entities.
ISRO is also exploring the possibility of using NASA’s Hypervelocity Impact Test (HVIT) facility for testing Gaganyaan module Micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) protection shields.
Mr Nelson praised ISRO for launching 231 satellites from the US onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and expressed anticipation for meeting India’s cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma in Bengaluru. The meeting also included the presence of the US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti.