Philippines to launch two micro-satellites

Eden Estopace
eGov Innovation

Looking to strengthen its capabilities in disaster management, weather forecasting, agriculture, mining, fisheries, and forestry, the Philippines plans to launch two micro-satellites into space in the next two years.

The Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Micro-Satellite Program (Phil-Microsat) will launch the first micro-satellite, called Diwata, in 2016. It will be orbiting the Earth for a year with an altitude of 400 kilometers from the ground and will be passing the Philippine islands four times a day with a duration of six minutes per pass. It can capture 900 images per pass.

The second instalment of the twin micro-satellite program is now undergoing development studies at the University of the Philippines and is expected to hover into space at a much longer time due to its higher altitude flight.

Rowena Cristina Guevara, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for S&T Services and concurrent Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Executive Director, said it’s time for the country to invest on its space technology as it relies heavily on commercial satellite data on some of its programs such as the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or Project NOAH.

Moreover, she said the country’s venture into micro-satellite technology will not only save billions of public money but will also help local experts develop high level capabilities in space technology.

Satellite data and images are vital tools in studying various weather patterns, agricultural conditions, marine behavior, and forest degradation which is needed to make important decisions especially in the field of disaster risk management.

Currently, the country uses cutting-edge sensor technologies to improve weather forecasting to mitigate the loss of lives and properties during typhoons.

Other immediate possible uses of satellite data can be seen in the mining industry, territorial border surveillance, and national security.

DOST is now collaborating with two Japanese universities, the Tohoku University and Hokkaido University, in building its capabilities in micro-satellite technology.

Guevara said micro-satellites are advantageous as these can be sent in missions that larger satellites could not accomplish, such as constellations for low data rate communications, using formations to gather data from multiple points, in-orbit inspection of larger satellites, and enables university-related research.


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