NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), an Earth science satellite being jointly built by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), got a send-off ceremony in California before it shipped out to India.
ISRO Chairman S Somanath, JPL Director Laurie Leshin, and dignitaries from NASA headquarters, including Bhavya Lal, NASA’s associate administrator for technology, policy, and strategy were present at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for the send-off.
Outside the facility, NASA’s NISAR Project Manager Phil Barela and ISRO’s NISAR Project Director CV Shrikant ceremonially broke fresh coconuts. The tradition, common in India, often marks auspicious occasions and signifies hope for a smooth road ahead. Leshin also presented the ISRO delegation with a jar of JPL lucky peanuts.
The NISAR mission, planned to launch in 2024, will provide critical information on Earth’s crust, ice sheets, and ecosystems. It is expected to systematically map Earth, using two different radar frequencies to monitor resources such as water, forests and agriculture. The mission will provide important Earth science data related to ecosystems, Earth’s surface, natural hazards, sea level rise and the cryosphere. Leshin said that NASA’s collaboration with ISRO exemplifies what’s possible when we tackle complex challenges together.