Creation of PH space agency awaits approval

TO BOOST the advancement of the country in space technology, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said they are now waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte to approve the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

Dela Peña, during his talk at the Entrepreneurs’ Summit on Friday, June 14, 2019, said the creation of the space agency was already recognized by the legislators and President Duterte.

“This is our effort in the space technology development. There are now two micro satellites from the country orbiting in space,” dela Peña said.

The creation of the space agency was filed under House Bill 8541. The bill seeks to create a national agency that will oversee developments on “space science, engineering and other allied fields.”

In 2018, the DOST launched the second micro satellite called Diwata-2, following the successful launch of Diwata-1 in 2016.

“We expected Diwata-1 to have a life for only 18 months but it is still orbiting after more than two years,” he said.

In July 2018, the country also introduced the first Filipino cube satellite named Maya-1, which takes images of the earth using onboard cameras, broadcast signals from various satellites and determines their locations, measures atmospheric density through orbital analysis and helps operate a ground station network for CubeSat constellation.

“What is the usefulness of this technology? Now we have our own satellites where we can get and remotely send images in our own receiving interpreting stations,” he said.

Dela Peña said they have one station in Quezon City and two others to be set up in Iloilo and Davao cities.

“They are regularly sending the remotely-sensed images. Diwata-2 is an improvement because it has better cameras and a radio component that can be used for emergencies,” he said.

Remote sensing is data-gathering about the earth’s surface. Among the technologies needed in remote sensing are satellites with high resolution camera and sensors for mapping flooding areas.

The microsatellites are also being used to gather data on natural and man-made disasters, to monitor vegetation and water changes, among others.

Moreover, the DOST chief announced that they are now working on Diwata-3.

Dela Peña said Diwata-3 will be unique because it will be the first microsatellite to be assembled in the Philippines by Filipino engineers. The previous satellites were assembled by the Japanese with the help of Filipino students.

“Diwata 3 will be assembled by Filipino engineers who have obtained advanced degrees in space science, space engineering and space physics,” said dela Peña. The DOST targets to launch the third microsatellite by 2022. (JOB)


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