PH marks new milestone as Diwata-2 micro-satellite hurls into space

By Katherine Gohu

Signaling the growth of the country’s space program, the Philippines posted another milestone on Monday, October 29, after sending the Diwata-2 micro-satellite into space from a launch facility in Japan.

Dr. Marc Talampas of PHL-Microsat during the live viewing of the launch at the GT Toyota Auditorium at UP Diliman

The launch, seen via a live link from the Tanegashima Research Space Center in Japan, was witnessed by members of the local media at the GT Toyota Auditorium at UP Diliman in Quezon City.

Built under the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL- Microsat) program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and University of the Philippines in collaboration with Hokkaido University and Tohoku University, the Diwata-2 micro-satellite is intended to serve as an “eye” to examine and observe the earth.

The Diwata-2 is also expected to aid in agriculture and in the disaster management program of the government. The DOST said it is hoping that initiative would also inspire young Filipinos to aspire for aeronautics and space science.

The creation of the Diwata-2 began right after its predecessor Diwata-1 was released in 2016. While it still contains some of the Diwata-1’s functions such as the ability to capture satellite images of the earth, its most distinguished feature is its sustainability.

Equipped with solar panels, the Diwata-2 has an increased power generation output to power the enhanced resolution camera (ERC) to further the quality of the pictures.

It will also have an amateur radio unit for emergency communications and a satellite orientation module for increased pointing accuracy and future satellite development plans.

During the launch event, members of the team that developed the micro-satellite said that before handing it over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Diwata-2 was made to undergo several tests. These included shock tests, vibration tests, thermal tests, and a variety of other tests that would make sure that the integrity of the Diwata-2 remained intact.

The Diwata-2 satellite

For the engineers from PHL-Microsat, they had to make sure that the satellite would not crumble upon launch. After all, the plan was that the Diwata-2 would be launched from an H-IIA Rocket. If the H-IIA Rocket failed, so would Diwata-2.

But on launch date, the micro-satellite successfully took off from Tanegashima, Japan and into the orbit.

With Diwata-2 up in the air, PHL-Microsat is also now pushing hard for the passage of bill creating the PhilSA or the Philippine Space Agency.

Currently being pushed and supported by Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, the PhilSA aims to shepherd the country’s promising space technology program.

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