The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch NISAR in 2024, which will deploy the most advanced radar system ever on a NASA science mission. NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) will observe nearly all of Earth’s land and ice surfaces twice every 12 days, measuring movements in extremely fine detail. It will also cover forests and agriculture regions in its survey to demonstrate to scientists how carbon exchange between plants and the atmosphere occurs.

Mission NISAR was envisioned by NASA and ISRO eight years ago, in 2014, with an aim to powerfully demonstrate the capability of radar as a science tool to help Scientists study Earth's dynamic land and ice surfaces in detail. NISAR will be the first satellite with a mission to use two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) on the science payload to measure changes in our planet's surface less than a centimetre. The payload of NISAR, set to launch as a part of the NASA science mission will include the most sophisticated radar system (L-band and S-band) ever launched. This system will have the biggest radar antenna of its kind, which will be nearly 40 feet (12 meters) in diameter and drum-shaped with a wire mesh reflector. The antenna will extend from a 30-foot (9-meter) boom.

The dual-frequency imaging radar satellite that uses Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to produce high-resolution images capable of penetrating clouds can collect data day and night regardless of weather conditions. This provides the mission an opportunity to observe wide changes ranging from the flow rates of glaciers and ice sheets to the influences of earthquakes and volcanoes. The NISAR will be loaded with two fully capable synthetic aperture radar instruments: NASA’s 24 cm-wavelength L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (L-SAR) and a 10-cm-wavelength S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (S-SAR) provided by ISRO. NISAR has a 240 km swath, 7 m resolution along track and 2-8 m resolution cross-track (depending on mode).

In addition, NASA is furnishing several essential components for this project, including the radar reflector antenna, the deployable boom, a high-speed communication subsystem for scientific data, GPS receivers, a reliable solid-state recorder, and the payload data subsystem.

Along with the S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is furnishing the spacecraft bus and launch vehicle, as well as the corresponding launch services and satellite mission operations. In March 2021, the S-band radar was constructed by ISRO and transported to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA.

For a period of two years, engineers dedicated a significant amount of time to integrate the S-band radar supplied by ISRO into the instrument with the L-band system constructed by JPL, known as Science Payload, followed by a series of tests to confirm their compatibility. Once the compatibility test was confirmed, the JPL engineers exported the science payload back to India through a specially designed container in late February 2023 via C-17 cargo plane, which landed in Bengaluru on the 6th of March.

In 2024, the NISAR satellite will be launched into a near-polar Earth orbit using ISRO's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Center located on India's South-Eastern coast. The satellite's science payload will be integrated with its body for the launch.

Girish Linganna
Aerospace & Defence Analyst

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Cannes: In a major triumph for India at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, Chidananda S Naik's Sunflowers Were the First Ones to Know... has won the first prize of La Cinef here.

The Mysuru doctor-turned filmmaker made the film at the end of his one-year course in the television wing of Pune's Film and Television Institute of India.

Sunflowers... is based on Kannada folk tale about an old woman who steals a rooster. As a result of her action, the sun stops rising in the village.

The third prize of the La Cinef competition on Thursday went to India-born Mansi Maheshwari's animation film Bunnyhood.

Maheshwari, born in from Meerut and an ex-student of NIFT Delhi, made the film as a student of UK's National Film and Television School.

The second prize was shared by Out of the Widow Through the Wall, directed by Columbia University's Asya Segalovich, and 'The Chaos She Left Behind'. made by Nikos Kolioukos of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Cannes Film Festival awards a 15000 Euro grant for the first prize winner, 11,250 euros for second prize and 7,500 euros for the third prize.

The awarded films will be screened at the Cinema du Pantheon on June 3 and at the MK2 Quai de Seine on June 4.

The first prize for Naik is India's second in five years. In 2020, Ashmita Guha Neogi, also from FTII, won the award for her film CatDog.