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PHL to launch micro-satellite in 2016

ILOILO CITY, March 23 (PIA) —- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is planning to launch the country’s very own micro-satellite next year as part of the government’s disaster risk management program.

This is under the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Micro-Satellite (Phl-Microsat) program which aims to hasten the creation of the Philippine Space Agency to help sustain and enhance efforts in research and development in this area.

Rowena Cristina Guevara, executive director of DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), said the country needs a space agency and space policy to compete regionally and globally.

“The importance of satellite communication was underlined during the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda when most forms of communications were knocked off,” she said.

The Phl-Microsat is being led by PCIEERD, involving the University of the Philippines, Hokkaido University and Tohoku University in Japan, with the backing of the Japanese government.

The three year (2015-2017) budget for the program has been pegged at P840-million, with the Philippines chipping in P324-million while Japan is taking care of P515.92-million.

The micro-satellites are slated to be launched with the help of the Japan Space Exploration Agency with a data receiving station to be put up in Subic at a former communications facility used by the United States.

The data station is codenamed the Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation or “PEDRO”.

Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said the government-owned microsatellite can be used to improve weather detection and forecasts, agricultural growth patterns, and monitor forest cover and the country’s territorial borders.

“We can develop a lot more uses for the microsatellite if we keep on improving its capability to expand its applications,” he said.

He said that DOST is launching not just one, but two-micro-satellites as the country’s ambitious plan of sending its own satellites into space formally rolls out. (JCM/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)

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