an artist's rendering of NISAR in orbit over california
Published: March 5, 2024

This artist's concept depicts the NISAR satellite in orbit over central and Northern California. Short for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, NISAR is a joint mission of NASA and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).

Scheduled to launch in 2024, NISAR features an advanced radar system to globally monitor changes to Earth's land and ice surfaces. The data it collects will deepen scientists' understanding of natural hazards, land use, climate change, and other global processes.

Housed within the satellite are two radar instruments: one from ISRO, and one built at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The satellite also features an antenna reflector nearly 40 feet (12 meters) in diameter, supported by a deployable boom. Using this system, the satellite will bounce radar signals off nearly all the planet's solid surfaces twice every 12 days, tracking the motion of those surfaces down to fractions of an inch. The mission's measurements will also provide insights into other processes, including the dynamics of forests, wetlands, and agricultural lands.

NISAR is the first space-hardware collaboration between NASA and ISRO on an Earth-observing mission. JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, leads the U.S. component of the project.