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10 Pinoys off to Japan to develop PH’s first microsatellite in space

Unknown to many, the Philippines is seriously into space research and development and that later this week, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is sending 10 Filipino students to Japan to learn how to develop a microsatellite that may be launched into space in 2016.
The DOST said the students will start their research on October 19 at Japan’s Tsukuba University (TU) and then head for Hokkaido University (HU) for their Master of Science (MS) until 2015.
After the study program, unless a hitch comes up, the 10 are expected to be able to develop and produce a microsatellite for launching into space in 2016.
It was learned that this is being undertaken by the government through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), one of DOST’s 20 attached agencies.
The space program has two components, a microsatellite project dubbed the Development of Philippine Scientific Earth Observation (PHL-MICROSAT) and a ground station, the Philippine Earth Data Resources and Observation (PEDRO) Center.

American Red Cross VSATs in the Philippines are utilizing Intelsat space segment to aid in the recovery efforts (Photo: Business Wire)
More or less P800 million has been earmarked for the space venture by DOST until 2016, the target launch of the planned microsatellite.
Marie Christie B. Santos, senior science research specialist at PCIEERD, said seven of the trainees will leave first just before the first day of their training, remaining three scheduled for training on November 4.
The microsatellite development is a DOST priority project, she said.
Santos said PCIEERD approved the Special Research Attachment of the 10 researchers: two from DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI); four from University of the Philippines Diliman-Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (UPD-EEEI); one from UPD-Training for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (TCAGP); and three from UPD-Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM).
She said the first group will be undergoing a study/research on Microsatellite BUS and the second group on microsatellite payload systems.
Their schedules are October 19-31 (the first part); a two-week study at TU; and November 4-16 at HU.
The second part lasts for five months from Nov. 5, 2014 to March, 2015.
“The two researches/studies of the 10 participants will be part of their MS (Master of Science studies) which will start in April 2015. By the end of their MS program, they will be able to produce/develop a microsatellite with the assistance/guidance of the Japanese researchers for Philippines which is targeted to be launched by 2016 (first or second quarter),” said Santos.
She said their thesis will be on the development of a microsatellite.
DOST Secretary Mario Go Montejo and PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Rowena Cristina C. Guevara earlier this year made separate announcements about the country’s venturing into space.
With its own microsatellite, the government can use it to enhance weather detection and forecasts, determine agricultural growth patterns, and monitor forest cover as well as the country’s territorial borders, Montejo said.
He said the government will save much money with its own microsatellite by not relying anymore on expensive data from foreign sources.
Guevara said training on the microsatellite development will be in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

source: Manila Bulletin

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