NASA’s Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft to Carry PHL-Microsat Diwata-1 to Space
The PHL-Microsat Program is a three-year program that aims to enhance local capacity in space technology through the development of microsatellite systems. The program, which started in 2014, is an initiative of the Philippine government, through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), implemented by several departments of the University of the Philippines Diliman and DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), and in partnership with Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan.
Assembled by nine Filipino scientists in Tohoku University and Hokkaido University, DIWATA-1, a 50-kilogram imaging microsatellite, is set to be brought to the International Space Station (ISS) via Orbital ATK Commercial Resupply Services Flight 6 (OA-6) Cygnus spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA, on 23 March 2016, 11:00-11:35AM launch window, Philippine Standard Time.
Diwata-1 will be housed in the ISS by the KIBO Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), which will release the microsatellite into space through its Japan Small Satellite (JSS) deployer.
NASA TV coverage will start at 10:00AM, 23 March 2016, PST. A viewing session of the rocket launch will be organized at the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute, University of the Philippines Diliman. The session will connect the Philippines (UP and DOST) and Japan (Hokkaido University and Tohoku University) through video conferencing.
Diwata-1’s main scientific payloads are the (a) high precision telescope (HPT) for high resolution imaging, could be sued for assessment of the extent of damage during disasters; (b) spaceborne multispectral imager (SMI) with LCTF for monitoring bodies of water and vegetation; and (c) wide field camera (WFC) for observing large-scale weather patterns. Once launched, it is expected to traverse a Low-Earth Orbit—400 to 420 kilometers from the ground—taking images of the Philippines during its projected two daytime passes.
DIWATA-1’s delivery to the ISS marks a new era of space technology development in the country. It is expected to aid the country’s efforts in building essential capabilities that enhance and promote disaster risk reduction and management, agricultural productivity, resource assessment, and climate change studies through space technology.
The PHL-Microsat Program is composed of five projects, namely (a) Microsatellite BUS Development for PHL-Microsat, led by Dr. Joel Marciano, Jr. of UP EEEI; (b) Ground Receiving Station for the PHL-MICROSAT, led by Mr. Alvin Retamar of DOST-ASTI; (c) Development of Data Processing, Archiving, and Distribution Sub-System for for the PHL-MICROSAT, led by Mr. Mark Tupas of UP Department of Geodetic Engineering (DGE); (d) Calibration and Validation of Remote Sensing Instruments, led by Dr. Enrico Paringit of DGE; and (e) Remote Sensing Product Development, led by Dr. Gay Perez of the UP Institute for Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM).
Diwata-1 is the first of the two earth observation microsatellites to be developed and launched under the PHL-Microsat Program. The development of Diwata-2 is currently being planned and is scheduled to be launched at a higher orbit in early 2018.
DR. JOEL JOSEPH S. MARCIANO
PHL Microsat Program Leader
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