By Corina Oliquino i FilAm Star Correspondent

Diwata-2, the Philippines’ second micro-satellite was launched into space from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan last October 29.

Unlike its predecessor Diwata-1, Diwata-2 was launched directly into orbit via the H-IIA F40 rocket between 12:08 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Philippine time.

The micro-satellite, which would help in environmental assessment and determine the extent of damage brought by natural calamities, will follow a synchronous or a nearly polar orbit around the Earth.

In a report by Rappler, the synchronous orbit meant the satellite will pass over any given point of the Earth’s surface at the same local mean solar time, which would allow a regular revisit of the micro-satellite.

“In addition, Diwata-2 features an amateur radio for emergency communication,” Project Leader Dr. Gay Jane Perez said, according to GMA News.

Significant information and world-best images
Diwata-1 was launched in April 2016 and praised by Hokkaido University researchers for producing world-best images. Diwata-2 also carries a wide field camera, middle field camera, high-precision telescope and “space borne” multi-spectral imager with tunable liquid crystal filter.

It is noted that one of the micro-satellite’s distinguishing feature is its deployable solar panels made for higher power output and enhanced resolution cameras.

“Two locally-made amateur radio unit for emergency communications and a satellite orientation module for heightened pointing accuracy are also on-board Diwata-2 as part of an experiment,” according to GMA News.

Meanwhile, the Department of Science and Technology’s (DoST) Undersec. for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara said in a report by GMA News that “satellites are important in providing information government agencies receive during times of natural disasters.”

“We are using a lot of satellites to give information not just to the National Disaster Risk Reduction [Management] Council but also to PAGASA for the weather. We also give it to PHIVOLCS for landslide,” Guevara said.

“We are also giving it to other government agencies for assessing their resources as well as the hazard,” Guevara added, noting satellite images would also be useful for students conducting research in their own respective fields.

STAMINA4Space Program
In a report by Rappler, Diwata-2 is among the selection of micro-satellites and nano-satellites that the Development of Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) Program has produced over the years and after the release of Diwata-1.

During the public viewing held at the University of the Philippine Diliman Guevara noted that the program has produced 50 scientists and engineers and is looking forward to encourage more.

“We’re not just building satellites. The real product of this project is the people,” Marc Caesar Talampas, one of the project leaders of the Philippine Micro-satellite Program, said according to Rappler.

In another report by GMA News, Diwata-2 (which is one of the five small satellites that are secondary payloads to be launched together with the satellites IBUKI-2 and KhalifaSat) was built under the PHL-Microsat program and in collaboration with the Hokkaido University, the Tohoku University, the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DoST-ASTI) under a PHP 900 million-fund.

“The PHL-Microsat Program is succeeded by the Sustained Support for Local Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program, which aims to build a local industrial base and enhance local space science and engineering expertise, which ultimately prepares the country in establishing the Philippine Space Agency,” GMA News reported.