NISAR Completes Trial in ISRO's Compact Antenna Test Facility
The NISAR satellite, partially covered in gold-hued thermal blanketing, is seen at the Indian Space Research Organisation's compact antenna test facility in Bengaluru, India, in September 2023.
Short for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, NISAR completed 20 days of testing in the chamber, where engineers found that the radio signals from the two radar systems' antennas passed requirements. The blue foam spikes lining the walls, floor, and ceiling prevent radio waves from bouncing around the room and interfering with measurement. The test was followed by a 21-day trial in a thermal vacuum chamber that showed the spacecraft can function in the extreme temperatures and the vacuum of space.
After further tests, the satellite will be transported about 220 miles (350 kilometers) eastward to Satish Dhawan Space Centre, where it will be inserted into its launch faring, mounted atop ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II rocket, and sent into low-Earth orbit.
NISAR is the first space-hardware collaboration between NASA and ISRO on an Earth-observing mission. Scheduled to launch in early 2024, the satellite will scan nearly all of the planet's land and ice twice every 12 days, monitoring the motion of those surfaces down to fractions of an inch. It will also track other processes, including the dynamics of forests, wetlands, and agricultural lands.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, leads the U.S. component of the project.