NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) Mission Operations Science Team (ROSES 2023)

Funding Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR: mission evolved from the radar element of the Deformation, Ecosystem Structure, and Dynamics of Ice (DESDynI) mission concept from the 2007 U.S. National Research Council (NRC) Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond; referred to as the “2007 Decadal Survey”. NASA established a partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2014 to develop a mission that could achieve the science objectives for the radar elements outlined in the 2007 Decadal Survey.  

The NISAR mission will provide large scale data sets of Earth surface dynamics that are critical to three Earth Science disciplines: 1) Earth Surface and Interior (Deformation), 2) Terrestrial Ecology (Vegetation, Carbon Cycle) and, 3) Cryosphere (Climate Change), and will contribute to others including Terrestrial Hydrology (Water Cycle). NISAR will also provide valuable data for numerous science applications including hazard/disaster management cycle (i.e. earthquakes, volcanic unrests, oil spills, flooding, wildland fires), agriculture and food security, forest and wetland management, infrastructure monitoring, and costal resilience. In addition to the science and applications identified in the 2007 Decadal Survey, the Satellite Needs Working Group (SNWG) found that by increasing NISAR’s downlink bandwidth, NISAR could collect higher resolution data over North America and could provide a near global soil moisture product, both capabilities directly benefiting the land monitoring U.S. Federal agencies. NASA’s budget was augmented to support both activities with new members added to the prelaunch Science Team in 2018 to develop the soil moisture algorithm theoretical basis documents (ATBDs). Additionally, NISAR will be collecting data in the coastal regions to about 650km offshore of the continental United States (East and West Coasts) and Hawaii along with the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to enable sea wind measurements (i.e. hurricanes and atmospheric rivers) and study ocean process.  

NISAR is a joint mission between NASA and ISRO (India Space Research Organisation) and will be the first satellite mission to collect radar data in two microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 centimeter wavelength) from NASA and S-band (10 cm wavelength) from ISRO. NISAR will use SweepSAR to observe Earth’s land and icecovered surfaces globally with 12-day regularity on every ascending and descending pass, sampling Earth on average every 6 days for a baseline 3-year mission. NISAR will have a 240 km wide swath globally, except in the polar regions where a 120 km halfswath will be used. The NISAR Mission will be capable of performing repeat-pass interferometry and collecting polarimetric data. The (NISAR) Science Users Handbook contains additional details on the science focus areas, mission measurement requirements and traceability, instrument and mission characteristics including the observing strategy, description of the data products and delivery, the theoretical basis of algorithms for the proposed products, and draft calibration and validation plans. Key appendices describe radar instrument modes, data product layers and provide brief descriptions of other applications. White papers for these and other application topics are available on the NISAR website:


  • Notice of Intent: Jan. 10, 2024
  • Full Proposals: Feb. 21, 2024




Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
International Opportunities

External Deadline

February 21, 2024