First PH-Made Satellite Launched

Visits International Space Station Before Deployment 

23 March 2016

The Philippines has launched its third satellite Wednesday at Cape Canaveral, Florida, a first among two that is expected to be orbited soon. It was flown into space at 10:00 a.m. Manila time. The spacecraft carrying the satellite is expected to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday where it will be delivered to the Japanese Experiment Module before it will be released into orbit between April 4 and 7.

The micro satellite named Diwata, is the first Filipino-made and co-developed weather satellite, officially called the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (Phil-Microsat). Diwata also caused the creation of Philippine Space Agency.

The Philippines launched its first communication satellite named Agila 1 into space in 1996. It was acquired from Indonesia, which launched it from Cape Canaveral in 1991. The second Philippine communication satellite was Agila 2 launched from Sichuan, China, in 1997. It was subsequently sold in 2009 and now carries the name ABS-3, after Mabuhay Satellite Communications, a subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., sold it to Bermuda-based Asia Broadcast Satellite Holdings Ltd. for P400 million.

The satellite was developed by Department of Science and Technology (DOST), University of the Philippines (UP), together with Tohoku University (TU) and Hokkaido University (HU) of Japan, which handed-over the project to Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) following the completion of the assembly and testing of the 50-kg Philippine Earth Observation Microsatellite.

Science Secretary Mario Montejo said Diwata was part of around 3,375 kilograms of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware that would be brought to the International Space Station (ISS) by Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) fifth resupply mission to the ISS.

Carlos Primo David, executive director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, said that once Diwata has been released into orbit, Philippine scientists will have full control over it.

David said that control of the satellite will be done first by Filipino Engineers who are stationed at Tohoku, Japan after which command will be transferred later to the Philippine Earth Data Resources Observation (Pedro) in Subic, Zambales province, which will receive and store data sent by the satellite. Agila 1 and Agila 2 were also being controlled at Subic Space Center.

It is expected that Diwata, which will stay in orbit for around 20 months, will take an average of 3,600 high-resolution images of the Philippines daily using its four cameras.

According to Phil-Microsat program head Joel Marciano Jr., Diwata is equipped with a high-precision telescope capable of determining the extent of damage from disasters; a space-borne multispectral imager with liquid crystal tunable filter that could monitor changes in vegetation and ocean productivity; a wide-field camera that could observe cloud patterns and weather disturbances; and a middle-field camera, an engineering payload that would be used to assist in determining the location of each image captured by the other optics.

Part of the three-year program is the development of a second microsatellite (DIWATA 2) to be launched in 2017.  More details of the program here.

No comments:

Post a Comment