The DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) marked the first year in orbit of DIWATA-1, the Philippines' first microsatellite, through the inaugural Pinoy Showcase of Space Technologies (PSST) on April 27, 2017 at the DOST-ASTI, UP Campus, Diliman, Quezon City.
Held in cooperation with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) - funded research and development program, “Development of Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite” (PHL-Microsat), the PSST is part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the DOST-ASTI and featured the unveiling of the Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation (PEDRO) Center.
"The main highlight of the inaugural PSST was the showcase of our very own ground control station to download image data from DIWATA-1 microsatellite and the KOMPSAT-3 satellite during one of their scheduled passes over the Philippines," said DOST-ASTI Acting Director and PHL-Microsat Program Leader Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. "In keeping with the theme of highlighting technology innovation, we chose to mark the occasion of DIWATA-1's first year in orbit by focusing on demonstrating the current local capability in satellite ground mission control."
The PEDRO Center is a multi-mission ground control station for receiving, processing, and distributing multi-sensor (optical and radar) images and telemetry data from several observation satellites which orbit over the Philippines. Said images support various application related to environmental monitoring, resource assessment and disaster risk reduction and management, among others. It houses the PHL-Microsat Ground Control Station, which is used to send commands to and receive data from DIWATA-1.
"There are potential benefits that we can get out of being capable in this particular area not only in disaster risk reduction or those related to climate change, but we can also monitor our natural resources, our agricultural crops, even our settlements, the hazards that are existing or shall we say posing risks," said Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña.
"More than that, there is the human development program because we all know, we are starting from practically scratch. When the PHL-Microsat Program was started, we do not have aerospace engineers. It was a good idea to send people to other countries, and what even inspired me more was when I was invited to the graduation of our first graduates at Hokkaido and Tohoku Universities," he continued.
Researchers from the PHL-Microsat program also presented updates on the development of DIWATA-2 microsatellite, which is targeted to be launched by second quarter of 2018.
"Diwata-2 is a 50-kilogram class microsatellite for earth observation, external dimensions of 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm, and the projected orbit would be at 613 km altitude and sun synchronous orbit. Our target launch is quarter two of next year, 2018," said PHL-Microsat PhD scholar Leonard Bryan B. Paet.
DIWATA-2 will carry additional improvements on the payloads used in DIWATA-1. It includes an Enhanced Resolution Camera (ERC) and an Amateur Radio Unit (ARU). The PSST showcase likewise featured the launching of PHL-Microsat Data Processing and Distribution Website and DIWATA-1 coffee table book. A series of PSST events featuring remote sensing technology and the Microsatellite Research and Instructional Facility in the University of the Philippines Diliman is expected to be held within the rest of 2017.
Written by: Renz Homer Cerillo & Katherine Ramos | SSED, DOST-ASTI | 05 May 2017