PHL-Microsat Diwata-1 was finally deployed to orbit Wednesday night. Diwata-1 is the first Filipino-built satellite. Diwata-1 was assembled by nine Filipino engineers who were stationed in Japan to undergo an extensive course about microsatellite. The team had almost a year to finish the assembly and testing of Diwata-1.
“The deployment of the microsatellite combines the only air lock and robot arm in the ISS used in Kibo operations, which in the future, is expected to be one of the important means to meet the launch needs of microsatellites,” Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.
It weighs 50 kg and is about the size of a “balikbayan box.” The development of Diwata-1 was made possible through DOST’s flagship project called the PhilMicrosat Program, which was implemented by several departments in University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman and DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI). The agency has also partnered with Tohoku and Hokkaido universities in Japan to develop Diwata-1.
Diwata-1 is expected to be in orbit for about 20 months and will be imaging the country twice daily.
Diwata-1 will be providing photos and images of Philippines that could be used to assess extent of damage during disasters, monitor bodies of water and vegetation, and observe large-scale weather patterns.
The main payload of Diwata-1 consists high precision telescope (HPT) for high resolution imaging, spaceborne multispectral imager (SMI) with LCTF, and wide field camera (WFC).
Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research Division (DOST-PCIEERD) Carlos Primo David earlier said that the pictures taken by Diwata-1 can also be used for tourism, as the agency will pick an image of the day and will share it to the public.
Originally, PCIEERD planned to have a good microsatellite data storage facility in Subic. David said the receiving station, which will be tasked to receive Diwata-1 imagery as well as from selected commercial satellites, will be in UP-Diliman instead. Construction of the receiving station in UP-Diliman will be finished by mid-May according to David.
For the meantime, the images from Diwata-1 will be received by those in Tohoku, Japan. ”They will send the images to us. That will be the scenario for the first two weeks,” David said.
Meanwhile, Diwata-2 is scheduled to be built within the year, and David said the planning stage has already started. He added that the government targets to launch the Diwata-2 in 2018.
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