A government project dubbed the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Micro-Satellite (PHL-Microsat) Program aims to send two micro-satellites into space to assist in disaster management programs, weather forecasting, agriculture, fisheries, forest protection, mining, and even the protection of cultural and historical sites, said Dr. Joel Marciano, the program leader.
The first micro-satellite, PHL-Microsat-1, nicknamed Diwata, will be launched into space in 2016 from the International Space Station (ISS), a large, habitable satellite orbiting the Earth. The second one, PHL-Microsat-2, will be launched in 2017 and has notyet been given a nickname yet. In addition to the two satellites, a ground receiving station called the Philippine Earth Data Resources Observation (Pedro) Center will be established under the program. To be built at the Subic Freeport in Zambales, the facility will receive the data and images captured by the satellites and process them into information that can then be disseminated to government agencies and used for public services. A research laboratory to be based at the University of the Philippines Diliman will be tasked to develop improvements to the program. It will also have direct access to information processed by the ground receiving station.
The three year project will cost a total of P840.82 million ($19 million). Of this, P324.8 million ($7.3 million) will be shouldered by the Philippine government, while P515.92 million ($11.6 million) will be shouldered by two Japanese universities, Tohoku University and Hokkaido University. Funds from the Philippines have been programmed by the Department of Budget and Management until 2017, said DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara. The two schools are currently training Filipino scientists and engineers to design and build the components of the micro-satellite and receiving station.