DOST, PhilSA sign MOA: Green lights the official transition of Space S&T Assets

4 weeks ago

Quezon City, Ph – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) have officially signed the Memorandum of Agreement on the transition of Space Science and Technology Assets (SSTA) from DOST to PhilSA today, 25 April 2022. 

DOST and PhilSA entered into this Agreement to cooperate on the joint operation, transition and turnover of SSTA Projects to PhilSA. Both agencies will continue to collaborate and work together to facilitate the smooth joint operation of the PEDRO Center, DATOS, SARwAIS Project, and the GRASPED Project, which are currently being maintained or implemented by the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). 

The joint operation means both agencies will have access to the process, functions, and systems of the mentioned services and projects; and is expected to effectively facilitate the eventual transfer/turnover of these projects and services to PhilSA. 

 "Today, we leave all these infrastructures, all these capabilities in the hands of the Philippine Space Agency, confident that they will further cultivate it as we’ve intended. However, expect the DOST to continue working with PhilSA and other government agencies as we continue to collaborate with them on space activities and through cooperative use of our existing science infrastructures such as our high-performance computing facility and our national research and education network," said DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña.

Indeed, PhilSA did not build from scratch. As DOST-ASTI Director Franz A. De Leon puts it: We have had our place in space even before PhilSA came into fruition, and DOST will always be working hand-in-hand with Philippine Space Agency by providing relevant science and technology innovation in space R&D.  

 

OUR PLACE IN SPACE 

Since 2014, the DOST through the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) have been laying the groundwork for the country’s space science and technology assets. The DOST had been the home for the country’s space science and technology assets when the proposal for Diwata-1 came about. The Department funded the PHL Microsat Program, which developed the Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 microsatellites, and Maya-1. 

Aside from microsatellites, the DOST has also deployed several nanosatellites in space. In cooperation with the Kyushu Institute of Technology under the BIRDS project, the agency has launched Maya-1, 2, 3 and 4 over the years. 

Inevitably, the satellites in space require a means to communicate with them. The same year that Diwata-1 was launched, the DOST established the Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Center. In 2019, the GRASPED Project was operationalized to undertake systematic operations of the Diwata microsatellites, and the subsequent processing, archiving, and distribution of data products. 

These facilities are equipped with Earth Observation satellite tracking antennas that send and receive data from the satellites. As of today, the Philippines have two functioning ground receiving stations in Manila and Davao City, strategically placed to complement each other's functions, and ensure that there is reliability and redundancy in operations. 

To be able to maximize the provision and availability of free and commercial satellite datasets from the PEDRO Center, DOST has also funded the DATOS and SARwAIS Projects in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Both projects make use of the DOST-ASTI science infrastructures to come up with on-demand simulation modeling and analysis using RS/GIS tools. Part of the project objectives is to coordinate and collaborate with mandated agencies in validating the accuracy and acceptability of DATOS and SARwAIS outputs for sharing with agencies and LGUs for disaster management policy and decision-making support. 

In 2019, Republic Act No. 11363 was signed, creating the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) which shall be the central government agency for all space activities and S&T applications. With this, DOST and DOST-ASTI's space-related activities are now ready to be transitioned to PhilSA for further advancement of space S&T in the country. 

ABOUT the SSTA Projects and Services to be Transitioned 

Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Center 

The PEDRO Center established a satellite Ground Receiving Station (GRS) facility at the DOST-ASTI office in Quezon City and Davao City, with direct access to a broad range of optical (high-resolution, multispectral) and radar (cloud-penetrating, day-night-imaging) satellite data. This facility receives and provides space-borne imagery to various government agencies, local government units, and state universities and colleges for use in various operational and research activities in the areas of emergency response management, agricultural monitoring, forest and environmental surveillance, urban-change detection, and other similar activities. 

The DOST-ASTI GRS facility receives daily imagery and data from the Diwata-2 microsatellite, which performs several mission applications including environmental and natural resource monitoring as well as disaster mitigation. PEDRO also communicated with Diwata-1 throughout its lifetime before being decommissioned last 2020. With the upcoming launch of the Multispectral Unit for Land Assessment (MULA) in 2023, the PEDRO facility is expected to be upgraded to be able to keep up with the increasing demand for the service and the collaborations that DOST-ASTI has forged with both local and international organizations and projects by expanding its constellation of supported earth observation satellites. Aside from the operations aspect, PEDRO also undertakes research in relation to satellite and other wireless communication to further develop capability and capacity in the area. 

  • Funding Source: ℅ DOST-ASTI GAA 
  • Project Duration: 2015-present 

 

Ground Receiving, Archiving, Science Product Development and Distribution (GRASPED) Project 

GRASPED undertakes the systematic mission planning and operations of the Diwata microsatellites and manages the processing, distribution, and archiving of derived satellite data. This project is jointly implemented by the DOST-ASTI, the UP-Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (UP-TCAGP), and the UP-Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (UP-IESM). 

  • Funding Source: ℅ DOST-GIA 
  • Project Duration: 03 January 2019 - 02 July 2022 

 

Synthetic Aperture Radar and Automatic Identification System for Innovative Terrestrial Monitoring and Maritime Surveillance (SAR with AIS) 

The DOST-ASTI is implementing the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) for Innovative Terrestrial Monitoring and Maritime Surveillance”, (i.e., the “SARwAIS” Project) to improve terrestrial monitoring and maritime surveillance of high priority areas, such as the West Philippine Sea and the Philippine Rise, using satellite images in response to coordinated inputs from the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Coast Watch (NCW). This is made possible through the acquisition of the NovaSAR-1 satellite, which allows for simultaneous S-band SAR imaging with AIS data. The Philippines currently has access to three (3) minutes of imaging per day which is equivalent to 81,600 sq.km. of coverage at 20m resolution. 

The SARwAIS Project aims to develop a comprehensive maritime surveillance and monitoring system, called the Surveillance, Identification, and Assessment using Satellites (SIYASAT) portal, synergizing the use of satellite-based AIS with S-band SAR images to improve maritime domain awareness. The SIYASAT portal will feature automated ship detection in a web-based portal allowing government monitoring agencies to have the capability to identify ships that do not transmit AIS data. 

  • Funding Source: ℅ DOST-GIA 
  • Project Duration: 2018-2023 

 

Remote Sensing and Data Science Help Desk (DATOS) 

The DATOS Project builds on and integrates past and ongoing DOST-supported projects and related initiatives on disaster mitigation by providing a help desk pre-, during, and post- disaster events that would provide remote sensing and data science applications support to critical activities on disaster mitigation, analysis, and advice. These activities require on-demand access to data currently available in the DOST-ASTI Computing and Archiving Research Environment (COARE) and the Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation (PEDRO) Centers. Aside from the operations aspect, the Project also conducts further research on Remote Sensing as well as Geographic Information Systems and data science in the context of these fields. The Project ended in February 2020, but the activities of DATOS continue to be part of DOST-ASTI's services. 

DATOS products use a combination of data generated from free and commercial satellite images from PEDRO Center as well as LiDAR images to come up with on-demand simulation modeling and analysis using RS/GIS tools. Likewise, DATOS intends to complement the disaster management-related initiatives of other government agencies. Part of its objectives is to coordinate and collaborate with mandated agencies in validating accuracy and acceptability of DATOS output for sharing to agencies and LGUs for disaster management policy and decision-making support. 

  • Funding Source: ℅ DOST-GIA 
  • Project Duration: 2018-2020 

 

SUMMARY OF ITEMS TO BE TRANSFERRED 

Project  Equipment / Facilities  Functions  Agreements  Satellite Operations  Data & Records 
PEDRO Center  🗸  🗸  🗸  🗸  🗸 
GRASPED Project  🗸  🗸    🗸  🗸 
SARw 

AIS Project 

🗸  🗸  🗸  🗸  🗸 
DATOS Project    🗸  🗸    🗸 
   

 

ABOUT DOST 

The Department of Science and Technology is the national government agency mandated to provide central direction, leadership and coordination of all scientific and technological activities, and of formulating policies, programs and projects to support national development. 

With the agency's elevation to full cabinet stature by virtue of Executive Order 128 signed on 30 January 1987, the functions and responsibilities of DOST expanded correspondingly to include the following: 

  • Pursue the declared state policy of supporting local scientific and technological efforts 
  • Develop local capability to achieve technological self-reliance 
  • Encourage greater private sector participation in research and development 

Website: https://www.dost.gov.ph 

 

ABOUT DOST-ASTI  

The Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), a Research and Development (RDI) of the DOST, was created pursuant to E.O. No. 128, S.1987, among others, to undertake long-term research to strengthen and modernize science and technology infrastructure and to conduct research and development work in advanced fields of studies, including Space Science and Technology Applications. 

The DOST- ASTI is mandated to perform the following functions: 

  • Scientific research and development in the advanced fields of Information and Communication Technology and Microelectronics. 
  • Undertake long-term researches to strengthen and modernize science and technology infrastructure; 
  • Conduct research and development work in the advanced fields of ICT and microelectronics; and 
  • Complement the overall endeavor in the scientific field with intensive activities in computer and information technologies. 

Website: https://asti.dost.gov.ph/ 

 

ABOUT PhilSA 

The Philippine Space Agency was established by Republic Act No. 11363 or the "Philippine Space Act", to be the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications (SSTA). 

The following policy declarations of the State underpin the mandate and function of PhilSA as the national space agency: 

  • To safeguard Philippine sovereignty, territorial integrity, Philippine interest, and the right to self-determination as mandated by Article II, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution; 
  • To support and commit to the development, application, and utilization of science and technology (S&T) that will foster patriotism and nationalism and accelerate social progress, such as the development of space technology and applications for its security and for the benefit of its citizens; 
  • To ensure access to space and its environs as a sovereign right in the promotion of national security towards the attainment and protection of national interest; 
  • To recognize that there is an urgent need to create a coherent and unified strategy for space development and utilization to keep up with other nations in terms of space S&T; 
  • To ensure that the Philippines has official representation in the international space community for establishing cooperation agreements and linkages on space development; and 
  • To ensure that the Philippines abides by the various international space treaties and principles promulgated by the United Nations and is an active participant in the international space community, including international rules and procedures concerning the Outer Space Treaty and Liability Convention, among others. 

Website: https://philsa.gov.ph/ 


EVENT PHOTOS: https://bit.ly/37Icn0r 

MEDIA INQUIRIES: 

KATRINA MINA
Project Evaluation Officer, DOST-ASTI
katrina.mina@asti.dost.gov.ph 
+63 915 859 5199  

NEYZIELLE RONNICQUE CADIZ
Sr. Science Research Specialist, DOST-ASTI
neyzielle.cadiz@asti.dost.gov.ph
+63 966 3327175