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PH to launch own microsatellite in 2016

The Philippines is blasting off into the space age with the planned launching of its own microsatellite in July ,2016, with the cooperation of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said the space venture is part of the government’s disaster risk management program.

The space program has two components: the Development of the Philippines’ Earth Observation Microsatellite (DIWATA), with a budget allocation of P800 million; and the Philippine Earth Data Resources and Observation Center (PEDRO), with a budget of P600 million, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said.

DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) said DIWATA is expected to gather “on-demand and real-time status of the country’s environment, particularly for applications such as disaster risk management, land-use, and aquatic resource assessment and monitoring.”

On the other hand, PEDRO will serve as an earth-receiving station that will “securely receive, process, and exploit and distribute space-borne imagery and derive information from the supported remote sensing satellites.”

The government-owned microsatellite can be used to improve weather detection and forecasts, agricultural growth patterns, and monitor forest cover and the country’s territorial borders, Montejo said.

“We can develop a lot more uses for the microsatellite if we keep on improving its capability to expand its applications,” he added, citing that the Philippines presently relies on third-party service providers and commercial vendors for satellite data and interpretation.

He also said that with a microsatellite and receiving station, the country will be able to gather its own satellite images and other data and not rely anymore on foreign sources.

PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevarra said DIWATA will be developed in partnership with the Tohoku University and Hokkaido University of Japan.

She said PCIEERD will monitor the implementation of the space program to be implemented by the University of the Philippines.

“We are going to launch the microsatellite development program this coming July. Then, we will be sending seven engineers to Japan for the training with the two universities,” Guevarra said.

From its development to its launch, making microsatellite involves many stages — from making sensors, payload mass, the microsatellite itself, including testing, and finally the launching, Guevarra pointed out. She expressed hope that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will allow the DOST to launch the microsatellite in 2016.

  • gWapo

    Forget China model! Go for Japan. Go go go Philippines!

  • roelca20

    How much is the budget for this? Php 800M plus Php600M??? How much goes to kickbacks in PDAF??? Below par..budget..tsk..tsk.. Where are the statemen legislators (Kuno) & gov’t officials. As a taxpayer I cannot accept the gov’t reasoning that we have no money for this kind of very important project, while a lot of taxpayers money goes to the pocket of corrupt gov’t officials.

  • enoughphildrama

    If we don’t want to rely on foreign resources, we might as well invest heavily on our own. Yes, we do not need to start from scratch. We can send our top students to study overseas and understand the basics. Then get them to enhance it and develop the product locally. Look at how China did it. True, they are copycat but then, look how its economy have grown.

    Technology is one of the key to better our economy. Let us develop a product that can make a difference in the world than just producing human resource products and rely on their remittances.

    • glutnix_neo

      We don’t need to send top students to study abroad that is a long shot, We already have top Filipino R&D engineers with the right knowledge at enough experience(5-10yrs). Unfortunately they are working for foreign companies.

      • enoughphildrama

        Where are they mate, abroad? They might not be Filipino citizens anymore. You will not be able to entice them to come back for what they have now. Anyway, whatever it will be, technology is another option.

        • glutnix_neo

          I’m just saying it’s more realistic than sending newbies abroad to study and expect that they would return. If they do will they their experience be competitive enough? What we need is few senior engineers to train our local engineers. The knowledge is all there, they don’t have to look so far.

          I’m an R&D engineer, I’m here abroad, but I’m still a Filipino. Our country have all the resources they need, the only problem is the government for the lack of will, and it’s citizen for the lack of faith with their fellow Filipino.

          • enoughphildrama

            Ok, so what should the government do to get these few senior engineers to train the locals?

          • glutnix_neo

            setup an R&D and hire those experienced engineers, that’s is if that’s the direction they want to take.

            yeah sure they cost a lot, but for sure any country with their own R&D can afford it. After all, an engineers salary is the cheapest of all R&D cost.

            Imagine the cost of a fighter plane, more than 1B USD(yang satellite almost 1B na din pesos nga lang), maliit na bagay ang sweldo ng engineer dun. hehehe.

          • enoughphildrama

            There is already an R&D within the DOST. And Universities have also R&D departments.

            Nothing against you but senior engineers are just good as mentors. Fresh ideas comes from those who are naive and eager to learn.

            If I am to pay senior engineers the rate they are getting today to train my unexperienced employees, I’d rather use that money to expose my employees to wider range of ideas. Then I would have diversities and great exposure. Although they might not be productive now, in the long run, it will be money well spent.

            Japan has done that. China has done that. Even Israel has done that.

            If Filipino overseas have got expertise in certain areas, then maybe when they go on holidays, they can just do some training or lectures for free. But I guess its all about money.

          • glutnix_neo

            Yes we have DOST and I know some of the guys from there, I don’t undermine their knowledge and intellect but the question is how fast are they moving? If by the time they mastered building RADAR then RADAR is already obsolete, I would say it’s not a well spent money. We are just going through unproductive cycle of acquiring knowledge the hard way(considering university knowledge are 5yrs to a decade old and it takes more years to master it, though there are knowledge coming from universities still most of them matures in the industry), .

            Japan when it comes to building and flying planes acquired their knowledge from British expert. China is gaining knowledge from hacking to US confidential files and/or reverse engineering US technologies. US by the way got their knowledge about stealth planes, jet engines, and atomic bomb by hiring German NAZI scientists after the war. Korea is doing the same thing(Samsung vs Apple). I couldn’t comment on Israel because I’m not familiar with its History but I think I have stated my point clear enough.(They didn’t sent their top newbies to foreign universities to learn the technologies, what will they learn from it?)

          • glutnix_neo

            “If Filipino overseas have got expertise in certain areas, then maybe when they go on holidays, they can just do some training or lectures for free. But I guess its all about money.”

            Don’t be too judgmental my friend especially if you haven’t done much for your country but complain and saying things must be done this or that way.

            As for me, I’m not bragging, but I did my part as one of the founder of PhilRobotics…
            philrobotics(dot)com

            We have inputs to DOST NOAH project(if you are familiar with it)
            vigattintourism(dot)com/tourism/articles/Vigattin-Radio-with-Project-NOAH-and-PhilRobotics

            And helped the IRRI on their research…
            irri-news.blogspot(dot)sg/2013/02/philippines-young-techies-develop.html

            And I am the person who created most of the firmware for this educational board I dedicate to Filipino students and Hobbyist
            hackaday(dot)com/2012/07/12/philrobokit-anito-is-not-an-arduino/

            I’m not receiving any money from it, just begging the Filipinos that they should patronize their own… Kaya natin ito, nasa atin na ang lahat. Gobyerno at Mindset na lang ng mga mamamayan ang dapat isaayos.

          • enoughphildrama

            It’s not being judgmental my friend, its the reality. Let’s not be naive on human behaviour. Humans are opportunistic. It’s their nature. You might be an exception. :)

            True, I haven’t done much posting of my work. It’s not really worth posting. I haven’t found anything exciting. It’s the poor and helpless that actually found me. I guess teaching the people who are deprive of higher education is not worth comparing to your achievements.

            I understand that time is precious. I understand pretty much the pace of technology. But spending on educating people is always money well-spent.

            We see things on different angles. But as far as i’m concern, you can mold and nurture the young to build an better society but not with the old whose mentality is stuck in the old ways.

            As what we Filipino would say “Nakasalalay sa mga bata ang kinabukasan ng mamamayan”.