‘Respect for ISRO is already high, but after Chandrayaan 3…’: NASA Director Laurie Leshin

Laurie Leshin, Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, hails the most significant collaboration between the US and India

The Indian space agency and its counterpart in the United States are nearing the launch of their joint mission next year that will use the world’s most expensive Earth imaging satellite to study climate change.

Set for launch in the first quarter of 2024, the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) not only addresses climate concerns but also helps predict earthquakes and tsunamis.

Laurie Leshin, director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lauded the collaboration, calling it the most significant technological partnership between the US and India in space exploration history.

“It has been very exciting to have our colleagues at JPL in Bengaluru working side by side with our colleagues at ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation),” Lehsin told ANI in Bengaluru.

Lehsin said, “We are very impressed by Chandrayaan-3 and India’s future plans for space exploration, and we look forward to many more partnerships between NASA and ISRO for India’s space programme. The respect – it was already very high because India has achieved so much in space – but now it is off the charts.”

Know about NISAR mission

  • NISAR is a joint effort between NASA and ISRO, their first collaboration on hardware development for an Earth-observation mission.
  • JPL, managed by Caltech in Pasadena, leads the U.S. segment by contributing L-band SAR, radar reflector antenna, deployable boom, communications subsystem, GPS receiver, solid-state recorder, and payload data subsystem.
  • The U R Rao Satellite Center in Bengaluru leads the ISRO component, providing the spacecraft bus, S-band SAR electronics, launch vehicle, launch services and satellite mission operations.
  • NISAR’s extensive monitoring, which occurs approximately every 12 days, enhances scientific understanding across a wide range of observations, beyond climate change, to include the dynamics of forests, wetlands and agricultural lands.

“We are very excited to work between NASA and ISRO on NISAR, a radar machine to observe the Earth’s surface and how it is changing. In India, they are interested in understanding how the mangrove environment on the coasts is changing. We’ll understand how ice sheets are changing and how earthquakes and volcanoes are happening around the world…there are so many different aspects to better understanding our Earth,” Leshin said.