Today marks the official launch of the microsatellite called Diwata-1 (also known as PHL-Microsat-1) in to space, making it the first satellite made by Filipinos to make such journey.
Diwata-1 is a product of collaboration between various universities and organizations which include the Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines, Hokkaido University, and Tohoku University in Japan.
The 9-man team behind Diwata-1 comprises of seven engineering students from the University of the Philippines and two researchers from the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science of Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). These individuals were sent to the Hokkaido University and Tohoku University in Japan to work on the country’s first microsatellite while pursuing advanced degree on the side.
The microsatellite is slated to start its journey to space later today at 10AM local time. It will be a payload of the Cygnus spacecraft which will be launched at Cape Cavernal, Florida through the Atlas V rocket as part supply mission International Space Station (ISS).
From the ISS, Diwata-1 wil be deployed into space and is expected to be in orbit for about 18-20 months.
More than just bragging rights
Contrary to what an uninformed person might think, Diwata-1 wasn’t developed just for the sake of launching something into space and put the Philippines on the headlines. Sure, it’s the Filipino-made microsatellite to ever make this voyage, but it will serve a more impactful purpose than merely boosting the ‘Filipino pride’.
Equipped with a High-Precision Telescope (HPT), a Space-borne Multispectral Imager (SMI) with Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF), and a Wide Field Camera (WFC), the Diwata-1 will serve as our country’s eye in the sky with the purpose of monitoring environmental issues and weather disturbances which will be vital in mitigating risks caused by natural disasters.
In addition, the HTD feature of Diwata-1 will provide a bird’s eye view of the damage caused in the aftermath of a calamity. This, in turn, will allow various government agencies to identify heavily-affected areas and, hopefully, speed up the process of allocating resources to those in need.
Last, and most certainly not the least, local farmers are also expected to benefit from Diwata-1 thanks to its SMI with LCTF which will be used to monitor changes in vegetation and pythoplankton biomass in various bodies of waters in the archipelago.
According to DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, farmers will have better foresight on what crops are ideal to plant and when is the best time to plant it based on the information that Diwata-1 has gathered.