NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have signed two documents to launch a joint NASA-ISRO satellite mission to observe Earth and establish a pathway for future joint missions to explore Mars.
At the International Astronautical Congress held on September 30, 2014 in Toronto, NASA administrator Charles Bolden and K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created a charter to establish a NASA-ISRO Mars Working Group, and defined how the two agencies will work on the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission targeted to be launched in 2020. NASA and ISRO have been cooperating under the terms of a framework agreement signed in 2008.
“The signing of the new documents reflects the strong commitment NASA and ISRO have to advancing science and improving life on Earth,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “This partnership will yield tangible benefits to both our countries and the world.”
One of the working group’s objectives will be to explore potential coordinated observations and science analysis between U.S.A.’s MAVEN and India’s MOM Mars missions, as well as other current and future Mars missions. The joint NISAR Earth-observing mission will make global measurements of the causes and consequences of land surface changes. Potential areas of research include ecosystem disturbances, ice sheet collapse and natural hazards. Under the terms of the new agreement, NASA will provide the mission’s L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, a solid state recorder, and a payload data subsystem. ISRO will provide the spacecraft bus, an S-band SAR, and the launch vehicle and associated launch services.