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The Philippines Poised to Launch its Biggest Space Project by 2023

The project is implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), and in coordination with the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), who will oversee its completion and expected launch by 2023, as well its management and operation thereafter.

As shared by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) earlier this year, the newest satellite initiative is currently being developed by the DOST-funded Advanced Satellite and Know-how Transfer for the Philippines (ASP) Project as part of the science agency’s priority agenda under the emerging technologies sector of providing space technology applications to public services.

The commercial-grade satellite will weigh 130 kilograms making it the country’s largest to date, and will be capable of capturing images of over 100,000 square kilometres of land area per day. The new satellite will be equipped with a high-resolution camera capable of capturing images with a 5m resolution and a 120km swath width. It will include nine spectral bands that can be utilised for disaster management, land use and land cover change mapping, agricultural monitoring, and forestry management among other things. with the satellites being able to last between six months to more than a year in orbit and passing through to capture the Philippines roughly twice a day for six to ten minutes.

The satellite will be equipped with two other payloads, the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), which can be utilised for ship and aircraft detection and tracking.

The preliminary mission objectives of the satellite were determined based on a needs assessment conducted by the ASP Project of the Space Technology Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program with various stakeholders in the Philippines during the first quarter of 2020. In addition, this project will bolster the country’s attempts to harness the power of satellite technology, which has the potential to provide long-term advantages that greatly surpass its development costs.

This satellite will also be the first of a series of next-generation satellites aimed at bolstering the country’s space technology research and development. The initiatives will build on previous significance in space efforts to enable the country to develop its own capabilities in order to build a space ecosystem and add value in space.

OpenGov Asia had reported that the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the National Security Council (NSC) signed a memorandum of agreement to collaborate in the implementation of a satellite-based project to monitor the country’s land and maritime domains. Government agencies implemented an initiative called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) for the Innovative Terrestrial Monitoring and Maritime Surveillance.

The SAR with AIS Project has acquired the data-tasking services of the NovaSAR-1 satellite, allowing the country roughly three minutes of imaging (or a scope of 81,600 sq. km.) using the scanning SAR (ScanSAR) mode per day. The memorandum of agreement allows the Philippine government, through DOST-ASTI, to access the NovaSAR-1 satellite for the whole lifespan of the spacecraft.

An influx of private sector companies, exponential evolution of technology coupled with the reduced cost of manufacturing and launch, and new business models are bringing across a radical transformation in the earth observation industry. As the space industry is becoming increasingly accessible to the masses, the incorporation of new technologies such as AI, IoT, and Big Data is becoming increasingly important for exploring the sector’s exciting new opportunities.

By helping improve communication and data collection, satellites are a beneficial investment for the sustainable development of countries.

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