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Wednesday, June 19, 2019
DAVAO

From Mati to space

DAVAO. Fr. Daniel J. McNamara SJ (6th from left), a noted astro-geo physicist and program coordinator of Ateneo de Davao’s Aerospace Engineering Department, pays a courtesy visit to Mayor Carlo Rabat (6th from right) for a “heads-up call” on developments regarding the impending creation of the Philippine Space Agency and the selection of Mati as the first Philippine Satellite launch site. (Mati City photo)

WITH the proposed Philippine Space Agency bill, Mati City in Davao Oriental is being eyed as the first Philippine satellite launch site.

Astro-Geo physicist and program coordinator of Ateneo de Davao University’s (Addu) Aerospace Engineering Department Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ, told SunStar Davao that Mati City has a geographical advantage as a potential space agency site.

"We’re going to launch it in Mati, because since it is near the equator," McNamara said, adding that it would be advantageous for spacecraft landing.

Recently, McNamara, together with the students from his department and some Addu representatives, met with Mati City Mayor Carlo Rabat for a courtesy visit and discussed the plans for the space program.

He said a location is already being proposed, but it has yet to be finalized.

The bill, currently to be passed for third and final reading in the Senate, may become law as early as June or July this year, in case there will be no further amendments.

McNamara is one of the law’s consultants.

He said aerospace development investors, as well as those involved in the technology of rocket fuels to be processed here using indigenous products (coconut, calamansi, banana, durian, etc.), are already interested in the project.

“Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and European countries are also interested with the project,” McNamara said.

Since Addu launched its Aerospace Engineering program, he said there is a possibility that a training facility within or nearby the satellite launch site would be built.

He said creating a space agency in the country had been long overdue. This could help improve information and data gathering in agriculture, climate, and health because the country will now be building up its own satellite.

“The Philippines spends millions of pesos every year to buy information from satellites from other countries. Our motto is that it would be too expensive not to do this,” he said.


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