India and the US will launch the joint microwave remote sensing satellite for Earth observation, named NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) in the first quarter of next year, said Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh during a meeting with a high-level delegation of NASA led by its Administrator Mr Bill Nelson who called on him in New Delhi today.
NISAR is targeted for launch onboard India’s GSLV. Data from NISAR will be highly suitable for studying the land ecosystems, deformation of solid earth, mountain & polar cryosphere, sea ice and coastal oceans in regional to global scale.
It was informed that ISRO’s S-band SAR was integrated with NASA’s L-band SAR at JPL/NASA and integrated L & S band SAR is currently undergoing testing with the satellite at URSC, Bangalore with participation of NASA/JPL officials.
Congratulating Dr Jitendra Singh for the historic Chandrayaan-3 landing on the virgin South Polar region of the Moon, Mr Nelson urged Dr Jitendra Singh for expediting the programme related to India’s first astronaut aboard a NASA rocket to the International Space Station (ISS). During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US earlier this year, the two sides agreed to launch a two-week joint India-US Space flight next year. NASA is identifying an opportunity in the Private Astronaut Mission for Indian Astronauts in 2024.
ISRO and NASA have formed a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Human spaceflight cooperation and are exploring cooperation in radiation impact studies, micro meteorite & orbital debris shield studies; space health and medicine aspects. The 8th meeting of India-USA Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation (CSJWG) was held in Washington DC in January 2023.
ISRO/DoS is also in discussion with prominent US industries (like Boeing, Blue Origin & Voyager) on specific items of cooperation and also to explore joint collaborations with Indian commercial entities.
The Indian side informed that a concept paper on the Implementing Arrangement (IA) is under consideration between ISRO and NASA. After a few iterations, both sides arrived at a mutually agreed draft and the same is processed for intra-Governmental approvals.
ISRO is also exploring the feasibility of utilising NASA’s Hypervelocity Impact Test (HVIT) facility for testing Gaganyaan module Micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) protection shields.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, India has a booming Space sector Startups since PM Modi initiated reforms in the Space sector. Within a short span of just about four years, the number of Space Startups has gone up from a mere single digit to over 150, with some of the earlier ones having turned into lucrative entrepreneurs.
Mr Nelson, himself an astronaut who flew with the crew of the 24th Space Shuttle flight onboard ‘Columbia’ in 1986, lauded ISRO for having launched 231 satellites from the US, onboard Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
Mr Nelson said he was looking forward to meeting India’s cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma in Bengaluru tomorrow.
The US Ambassador to India, Mr Eric Garcetti was also present in the meeting.