Jan 20, 2016

First Philippine microsatellite ‘Diwata’ set to launch

QUEZON CITY, Jan. 19 — The potential uses of Diwata, the first all-Filipino assembled microsatellite, include: improved weather detection and forecasts, disaster risk management, detecting agricultural growth patterns, and the monitoring of forest cover, mining, protection of cultural and historical sites, and the territorial borders of the Philippines.

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Diwata was turned over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to prepare for its launch into space in April. With Diwata, comes the Filipino dream to have its own Philippine Space Agency.

Officials of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), UP Diliman, Tohoku University (TU), and Hokkaido University (HU) handed-over the project following the completion of the assembly and testing of the 50-kg Philippine Earth Observation Microsatellite. It is set to be released into space from the International Space Station (ISS) later this April.

Recognizing the advantages of using satellite-based remote sensing, the government invested in the construction and launching of the Philippine scientific earth observation microsatellite, under the PHL-MICROSAT or Diwata program, with the budget of P800 million for three years.

Diwata is the country’s first microsatellite designed, developed, and assembled by Filipino researchers and engineers under the guidance of Japanese experts from Hokkaido University and Tohoku University. The satellite is designed to provide real-time images for disaster risk management and other applications.

Seven engineering students from the University of the Philippines and two science researchers from DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) were sent to Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan to work on the microsatellite bus system and payload design while pursuing advanced degrees, as part of the PHL-MICROSAT program.

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