DIWATA-1 The First Filipino-made satellite ready to launch

It is all systems go as the Philippines is set to officially launch its very first satellite into orbit. After months of development and anticipation, DIWATA-1, also known as PH-Microsat-1, will be launched on March 23, at 10 in the morning, local time. The microsatellite, which weights approximately 50 kilograms, will be sent to space via the payload of the Cygnus CRS OA-6 spacecraft, owned by the private aerospace company Orbital ATK, currently under a commercial resupply services contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The spacecraft will lift off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida in the United States, and will make its way to the International Space Station (ISS) on a scheduled supply mission that will bring personal supplies, equipment, and other essential items to its current occupants. From there, DIWATA-1 will remain in the ISS until around the end of April before it will be launched into orbit at an altitude of 400 km above the surface of the Earth.

The microsatellite, designed by nine Filipino engineers from the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and the University of the Philippines (UP) in collaboration with two universities in Japan, shall primarily be used to provide images that would help the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in disaster management, such as assessing damage during typhoons and natural disasters. It can also be used to provide critical data for other Philippine agencies in agriculture, forest cover monitoring, geomapping, and national security. “DIWATA-1’s delivery to the ISS [takes us] one step further in the country’s long journey towards developing homegrown science and technology expertise and finally put the Philippines in the list of nations that have the capacity of venturing into space and beyond,” DOST told. Another satellite to be commissioned by the Philippine government is expected to be launched by 2017.
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