NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite in the making

Defence News: India and America are collaborating on a new front. NASA and ISRO are building a Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite which is an Earth imaging machine. From the times of sanctions when America used to think denying India technology will impede it’s progress to this time today. Today when India keeps its pace up in any sector it chooses to develop, with little or no help. The Satellite, scheduled for launch in 2021 is one example of partnership that promises a future of technological leaps that may come to pass if major space agencies shake hands.

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NASA Image: Artist concept of the Nasa-Isro synthetic aperture radar (NISAR) satellite in orbit.

NISAR will cost around 1.5 billion USD, making it one of the most expensive earth imaging satellite. “NISAR is the first big collaboration between NASA and ISRO, certainly on RADAR but just in general as well. This is two frequency RADAR, it is an L-band 24 centimeter RADAR and S-band 13 centimetre. S-band is being built by ISRO and L-band by NASA. It is a major collaboration both in terms of the technical building of the satellite as well as working together across the Pacific between India and US,” said Paul A Rosen, a scientist working on the NISAR satellite project, NDTV reported.

The satellite is scheduled for launch on GSLV from India in 2021 and take snapshots of earth every week using 2 onboard radars, this will give it a time lapse image of tectonic plates, ice sheets and vegetation cover changes. Forests and agriculture can be thus monitored and studied apart from weather change. “We are going to be making snap shots of the Earth every week using these two radars that gives us a time lapse image of the motion of the tectonic plates, of the ice sheets, of the changes in vegetation over land in agriculture and forests. So what we are doing is looking at time variability of the Earth over the life of the mission to understand how disasters evolve, how earthquakes occur, how volcanoes occur, how the ice sheets are changing and affecting sea level rise, and how forest fires and changes in the forest cover affect the atmosphere. It is very relevant to what society cares about which is changes in our climate, changes in our environment and how it affects society,” continued Paul A Rosen.

India and the world in space:

For one, it is our engineers and scientists that give the world most of it’s modern research and development. Yet at home we are yet to cover major milestones. We are still lagging in many areas and need to invest in R&D for betterment of our daily lives, space research can spin off critical technologies for that purpose. We need new ideas, new propulsion technology and new life support research to truly go in space. Not to mention many of these inventions will spin off into life saving and life enhancing technologies.

Fuel guzzling, obsolete, antiquated rocket technologies that NASA and ISRO ride on, still linger, we accumulate debris in earth orbit. Leave alone the question of traveling to other stars, we have no way of traveling quickly across our solar system. For we are stuck with too many problems on earth: poverty, hunger, famines, wars, terrorism. When we fight over god and religion, how can one hope to rise to the space age? Any step is a good step in the right direction.

Written by Baldeva Singh

Baldeva Singh is a tough talking nationalist who has a flair for writing. Defence matters, technical details on weapons and war scenarios are his key expert areas. Baldev is known to walk the talk in his personal life. He is from Patiala (Punjab). His friends call him a “blunt weapon” but he is often found reading old books when free!

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