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DOST hands over Philippines’ first microsatellite to Japan

Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2016 - 9:00am

TSUKUBA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has turned over the Philippines’ first microsatellite to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for shipment to the US and launching into orbit by April.

Diwata-1 is designed and built by a team of nine Filipino engineers and scientists with the guidance and mentoring of aerospace experts from Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan.

The handover means the successful culmination of the DOST-funded and conceptualized program aimed at building the country’s own microsatellite with which it can do imaging of the land and sea for disaster management and for monitoring of forests, marine areas and agricultural lands.

Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said the turnover also meant that the Philippine team will start working on Diwata-2, which should be completed and launched next year when Diwata-1’s orbit ends.

The program selected UP Diliman graduates to pursue post-graduate studies in Tohoku University and Hokkaido University as scholars tasked to build the microsatellite.

Yukihiro Takahashi, director of Hokkaido University’s Space Mission Center under its Creative Research Institution & Department of Cosmosciences, gave assurance that the Diwata-1 is equipped with high resolution cameras and sensors to observe Earth.

Philippine deputy chief of mission to Japan Gilberto Asuque said the project meant the country has finally joined the space age.

“These microsatellites will not only prepare local governments and communities for impending typhoons, they will also aid farmers and agriculturists in planning which type of crop should be planted in specific areas and seasons,” Asuque added.

The DOST said Diwata-1 was named after Filipino mythological character Diwata or fairy. Although it only weighs 50 kilograms, its benefits are expected to be “heavyweight.”

The data to be generated by Diwata will also enable the weather bureau to predict extreme weather systems like El Niño that can dramatically affect agricultural productivity, crop yield and threaten food security.

ACIRC CREATIVE RESEARCH INSTITUTION DEPARTMENT OF COSMOSCIENCES DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DIWATA EL NI HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY JAPAN AEROSPACE EXPLORATION AGENCY JAPAN GILBERTO ASUQUE SPACE MISSION CENTER TOHOKU UNIVERSITY AND HOKKAIDO UNIVERSITY
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