August 10, 2020

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Philippine Space Agency to contribute to the country’s economy

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The establishment of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) would contribute to the country’s growth and nation-building according to the Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

A projected captured market of US$ 1.5 billion in the next 10 years is seen in aerospace, satellite manufacturing and launching, according to a recent report.

Moreover, a projected 0.57% GDP share in 2022 and over new 2,200 direct employments was also seen.

During the Department’s recent Business Forum on Space Science and Technology, it was said that the setting up of the Agency will contribute to the country’s economy in a combination of the upstream and downstream market.

The thrust of the upstream market is to be able to provide the country with the technology such as the fabrication of space components.

These components cannot be imported all the time because of import restrictions or supply.

Local companies will be able to build space-grade components and can spawn an industry that can provide more jobs for Filipinos.

These space technology components must pass certain requirements, such as vibration tests and thermal tests, to ensure that technologies put up in space will be durable enough for the harsh space environment.

For the downstream part, there will be a change in the Filipino talent landscape and opportunities because of the amount of data satellites this can produce for the country.

The country will produce a lot of data engineers and data scientists who will be working for these datasets not only for the Philippines, but also for the rest of the world.

Having more skilled Filipino data scientists and engineers working on data analytics can ultimately be the next business-process outsourcing in the Philippines.

Moreover, if there is a space agency, the right policies can be created. There will also be incentives wherein the adoption of space technologies can be incentivised so that they can be supported and protected while growing.

Some industries have already expressed their commitments toward the services they could offer in support of the establishment of the Agency.

In 2017 alone, the semiconductor industry in the country had a total export of US$ 32.7 billion. With a new space electronics sector in their field, it could contribute to sales.

To see a significant growth, companies must demonstrate capabilities, certification and qualification before they land an order locally or from other countries that would pass the demands of space environment.

Investments and trial periods are required to demonstrate the country’s capability before one can actually say that the Philippines has a legitimate space industry, such as a space electronics sector.

Although legislators at the House of Representatives have already passed the House Bill (HB) 8541, or the proposed Philippine Space Act on 4 December 2018, with a unanimous vote on its third and final reading, the country’s dream to establish a national space agency still hangs as the Senate is still having its own deliberation.

In the meantime, despite the absence of the law creating the Philippine Space Agency, the DOST and University of the Philippines (UP) are already building the foundation of the human resources to sustain the future of the country’s space program.

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