PH joins satellite consortium
The Philippines has joined eight countries in the first Asian Microsatellite Consortium (AMC), which will launch a constellation of microsatellites vital in gathering data for large-scale disaster mitigation, climate studies and promotion of agriculture.
A memorandum of agreement creating the consortium was signed on Friday following the conclusion of the 23rd Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum, which the Philippines hosted for the first time in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa).
On a larger scale, the creation of a consortium is seen to boost Asia’s global presence in the field of space technology. For the Philippines, it will boost its fledgling space industry and make an impact on key development areas, according to science and technology officials.
“The areas we would like to have an impact on through space technology are national security development, hazard management and climate studies,” said Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña at a press conference on Thursday with Jaxa officials.
The alliance comprises 17 space agencies and universities from Japan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Burma (Myanmar), the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam—all of which are disaster-prone nations.
Under the agreement, the consortium will deploy 50 microsatellites into space to collect data, particularly relating to natural disasters and the environment. The data will then be shared and used by members of the consortium.
“These microsatellites will allow the AMC to monitor any given location on Earth around the clock, therefore, making it possible to grasp a variety of situations, including major disasters if one should occur,” said the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).
Professor Yukishiro Takashi of Hokkaido University, who initiated the formation of the AMC, said “the consortium will trigger the advanced space utilization with microsatellites not only in Asia but also all over the world, including Africa and South America.”
The Philippines deployed Diwata-1, its first locally built microsatellite, into orbit in April as part of the country’s microsatellite program with the hope that it would provide data on weather systems that would enable Filipino farmers to adapt planting methods in light of climate change.
Filipino scientists and engineers behind Diwata-1 are currently at work to develop Diwata-2, which is expected to be launched in 2018.
PCIEERD executive director Carlos Primo David said joining the consortium would allow the country to have a higher return rate of images of the country captured from space.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.