DOST to establish Philippine space agency
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2016 - 9:00am

TSUKUBA, Japan – After completing its first micro-satellite with another one in the works, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is preparing to establish a national space agency for the Philippines.

Undersecretary for scientific and technological services Rowena Guevara told Japanese officials that the DOST is currently working to establish a country’s space agency that will manage the space program as provided under a law passed by Congress.

“The space agency will be an individual agency of the government,” Guevara said, adding the need for its creation would be highlighted by the launch of the Diwata-1 in April.

Guevara said the government has seen the need for the country to have a space agency, and her superiors have given the green light for its establishment.

The scientist and her colleagues paid a courtesy call on Japan’s economic ministry, as well as the ministries of trade and industry, education, culture, sports, science and technology, and Cabinet officials this week.

They handed over the micro-satellite to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for shipment to the US.

The Diwata-1 was designed and built by Filipino engineers and scientists, mostly from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

It will start orbiting space in April.

Alvin Retamar, chief science research specialist of DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute, said with the Diwata-1 expected to be in orbit, the agency will be building a ground receiving station (GRS) center in Subic by May.

The GRS center will receive satellite images and data collected by Diwata-1.

Retamar said the communications equipment for the GRS center would be delivered by an American supplier, and is compatible with the Japanese space technology of Diwata-1.

Carlos Primo David, DOST-Philippine council for industry, energy and emerging technology research and development director, said the micro-satellite has four cameras, one of which is capable of taking a clear image of any object at least three meters in size.

Aside from monitoring the weather, forest and marine resources and national security, Diwata-1 can take images for tourism purposes.

ADVANCED SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE AGENCY ALVIN RETAMAR CARLOS PRIMO DAVID DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY GUEVARA JAPAN AEROSPACE EXPLORATION AGENCY QUEZON CITY ROWENA GUEVARA SPACE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES
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