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Satellite Learning for Filipino Youth

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The Philippines’ second 50-kg Earth Observation satellite, sent to orbit in 2018, has an amateur radio payload with an FM voice repeater and Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS). These characteristics enable long-range radio communication, SMS communication, GPS and satellite weather data transmission and reception and SMS communication, respectively.

During the recently concluded World Space Week (WSW), the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) took advantage of the satellite’s daily passage above the Davao City province to display the satellite communication capabilities of Diwata-2.

“We were able to show in our demonstration that a Filipino-made satellite with a locally developed component can be used for backup communication, especially during disasters where cell sites may be down,” says Dr IZ Bautista, a satellite engineer of PhilSA. He noted that the action might encourage more Filipinos to continue building satellites and satellite components, which would benefit the entire nation using space science and technology.

(L-R) Mr. John Kyl Cortez, Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr. and Dr. Izrael Bautista answer PSHS SMC students’ questions on satellite communication; Image credits:

The radio demonstration is part of the launch of PhilSA’s Nationwide Network for Educational Satellite Terrestrial Stations (NNESTS) initiative aims to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education among students. It has been done in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology’s Region XI and the Philippine Science High School’s Southern Mindanao Campus (PSHS SMC).

Satellite communication is essential for sustainable growth since it enables the nation to connect over bigger distances that would be too costly if through terrestrial communication methods such as constructing cell towers and cable links.

One of the goals of sustainable development is to bridge the digital divide, and satellite communication is being utilised to connect remote regions to the Internet and the rest of the globe. Long-term, NNESTS seeks to contribute to the development and maintenance of human resources in the space industry.

According to Dr IZ, there are two approaches to consider “space and sustainability.” It must ensure that space is used responsibly, safely, and peacefully, as this contributes to innovations that are both inclusive and sustainable in the outer space environment. Second, space operations should continue to aid humans in resolving problems for sustainable development on Earth.

It is a contemporary and relatable approach to expose young people to the “experience of outer space” to teach pupils how to “speak” via satellites and other digital means. PhilSA thinks that this will encourage students to explore STEM fields, particularly space science and technology applications, and enable them to consider sustainable developments in digital space.

According to PhilSA, there is no single course or professional route that students must follow to work in the space industry. As large and expansive as space is, so are the possible roads and courses for becoming a member of the expanding space ecosystem.

The agency is hopeful that it will push the boundaries of STEM education and empower the passion and skills of young people to make the proper decision regarding their postsecondary education. They will continue to bridge the gap between space exploration and learners’ access to job paths such as medicine, design and manufacturing, robotics, and data analytics.

Radio amateurs who wish to communicate via Diwata-2 may do so by using the following frequencies:

  • RX:145.900 MHz
  • TX: 437.500 MHz PL tone:141.3 Hz

Notably, amateur radio communication requires a licence from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The country is looking to better prepare citizens to live is an increasingly digital landscape. OpenGov recently reported that the government aims to establish a free online library for elementary and secondary learners to augment the existing online library services; it also encourages students to maximise the benefits of digital technology.


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