UP professor appointed as first chief of PH Space Agency

As expected, University of the Philippines (UP) engineering professor Joel Joseph S. Marciano was named as the first director-general of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

Newly appointed PhilSA director-general Joel Joseph Marciano

Marciano’s designation as PhilSA head was announced on Tuesday, Jan. 7, although his appointment paper was signed in December last year.

Prior to his new role, Marciano also served as director of the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), the main unit of the Department of Science and Technology focusing on research and development in the fields of ICT and microelectronics.

More importantly, he led the country’s space program formally known as “Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space)”. This initiative was the successor of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite or PHL-Microsat – the DOST-funded program where UP and ASTI collaborated with Japan’s Tohoku University and Hokkaido University.

DOST secretary Fortunato dela Pena and undersecretary Rowena Guevarra – both colleagues of Marciano at the UP College of Engineering – publicly vouched for his credentials and pushed for his appointment as PhilSA head.

Marciano, however, will report directly to Duterte as the PhilSA has been placed under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President (OP) and not as an attached unit of the DOST as originally intended.

As space program director, Marciano played a major role in a number of pioneering initiatives including the launch of Diwata micro-satellites and Maya-1 cube-satellite, as well as the University Laboratory for Small Satellites and Space Engineering Systems (ULyS3ES) in UP Diliman.

Marciano earned his electrical engineering degree from UP in 1994 and immediately joined its faculty as an instructor. After getting his master’s degree in 1996, he went to Australia to take his doctoral studies in electrical engineering and telecommunications at the University of New South Wales.

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