The completion of the Philippines’ first microsatellite Diwata-1, could be the beginning of a local satellite-building industry in the country.
Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo said yesteday, that the DOST’s capacity building efforts for Diwata-1 could be an industry that would complement the robust electronics sector and emerging aerospace industry.
“Our local electronics and semiconductor companies, and the small and medium companies catering to the needs of a number of aerospace companies that have set up shop in the country, can be tapped to provide parts and equipment needed in building satellites,” he said.
“It can drive the growth of the local electronics and aerospace industries,” he added.
Last week Diwata was handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on January 13, 2016. The JAXA is set to send the satellite to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States after conducting final tests on the satellite, it will be launched into space in April.
Scientist from DOST and UP Diliman which consists of nine young Filipino engineer that designed and built Diwata-1 are expected to build another microsatellite, the Diwata-2, which will be a much better version than the first one.
DOST and the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development will be funding the establishment of a space research laboratory in UP Diliman.
“They have allotted space for the setting up of a research laboratory for microsatellite technology so that when the Filipino students come back from Japan, they will have a home to come back to, and start maybe teaching and doing training for our industry engineers, to continue and use the momentum,” Marciano told Japanese officials during the handover of Diwata-1 to JAXA.
According to Carlos Primo David, executive director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, the Philippine government has been availing services from foreign countries for satellite imagery. The Diwata-1 program is a small investment, following the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda where the government had to pay about ₱56 million for a set of image of areas affected by the typhoon. This led to the creation of the program.
The high-precision telescope (HPT) of Diwata-1 can also be used in monitoring Chinese activity in the West Philippine Sea, meaning the satellite will be crucial for the country’s national security.
The following names are the nine young Filipinos that built Diwata-1:
From UP Diliman
- Ariston Gonzalez
- Julian Marvick Oliveros
- Juan Paolo Espiritu
- John Leur Labrador
- Delburg Mitchao
- Menjamin Jonah Magallon
- Kaye Kristin Vergel
DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute:
Senior science research specialists Gerwin Guba and Harold Bryan Paler.