NISAR, short for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, is a collaborative mission between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to observe Earth. The satellite is scheduled to launch in early 2024 and will scan the planet’s land and ice every 12 days with high precision, capturing movements and changes in various surfaces.
The recent thermal vacuum test took place in Bengaluru, India, at ISRO’s Satellite Integration and Test Establishment. This test is just one of many to ensure the satellite’s readiness for launch. The purpose of the test was to simulate the extreme temperature conditions that the spacecraft will encounter in space. The satellite was subjected to both cold and hot soaks to mimic the temperature swings in orbit.
During the three-week testing period, teams from ISRO and JPL worked continuously to evaluate the performance of the satellite’s thermal systems and its primary science instrument systems, the L-band and S-band radars. The compact antenna test facility was used earlier in September to assess if the radio signals from the radar systems’ antennas met the requirements.
With the successful completion of the thermal vacuum and compact antenna tests, the next step is to equip NISAR with solar panels and its radar antenna reflector. Once everything is in place, the satellite will be transported to Satish Dhawan Space Centre to be mounted on ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II rocket for launch into low Earth orbit.
NISAR is a significant milestone as it represents the first collaboration between NASA and ISRO on hardware development for an Earth-observing mission. The project is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech. NASA is contributing various components, including the L-band SAR, radar reflector antenna, and communication subsystem. ISRO is responsible for the spacecraft bus, launch vehicle, and other associated services.
For more information about NISAR, please visit the official website: https://nisar.jpl.nasa.gov/