Published on: April 16, 2023



Why in news? A forthcoming satellite, NISAR, jointly developed the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the U.S. will map the most earthquake-prone regions in the Himalayas with unprecedented regularity.


  • The data generated can potentially give advance warning of land subsidence, as recently observed in Joshimath, Uttarakhand, as well point to places that are at greatest risk from earthquakes.
  • The NISAR satellite, expected to cost approximately will use two frequency bands: the L-band and S-band to image the seismically active Himalayan region that will, every 12 days, create a “deformation map”.
  • These two frequency bands will together provide high-resolution, all-weather data from the satellite that is expected to follow a sun-synchronous orbit
  • With a frequency of 12 days and the ability to be able to provide images even under cloudy conditions, NISAR would be a valuable tool to study deformation patterns, such as in Joshimath


  • NISAR has been built by space agencies of the US and India under a partnership agreement signed in 2014.
  • The 2,800 kilograms satellite consists of both L-band and S-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) instruments, which makes it a dual-frequency imaging radar satellite.
  • NASA has provided the L-band radar, GPS, a high-capacity solid-state recorder to store data, and a payload data subsystem, ISRO has provided the S-band radar, the GSLV launch system and spacecraft.

What is the mission ?

  • It will spot warning signs of natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides.
  • The satellite will also measure groundwater levels, track flow rates of glaciers and ice sheets, and monitor the planet’s forest and agricultural regions, which can improve our understanding of carbon exchange.
  • ISRO will use NISAR for a variety of purposes including agricultural mapping, and monitoring of glaciers in the Himalayas, landslide-prone areas and changes in the coastline.
  • By, using synthetic aperture radar (SAR), NISAR will produce high-resolution images. SAR is capable of penetrating clouds and can collect data day and night regardless of the weather conditions.