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Filipino Diwata-1 Microstellite is NASA poster child

TechBlade covered the preparations for the staging, launching and deployment of Diwata-1 from the start last year. Although a first in Philippine Space Program efforts, Diwata-1 managed to exceed expectations.

Diwata-1was supposed to be used in multiple ways such as agricultural mapping, disaster risk reduction and management, research, weather monitoring, land –use mapping and planning, the micro-satellite also became NASAs poster child for Small Spacecraft Technology. The National Auronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Presidential Transition Binder for the transition team of President-Elect Trump noted Diwata-1.

This was announced at the The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development’s (DOST-PCIEERD) Facebook page.

It came as a surprise according to PCIEERD Executive Director Carlos Primo David. Diwata-1 was recognized by NASA  as an example for small spacecraft technology, noting that Nasa recognized many advantages of small yet powerful satellites, which include ease of deployment and cost.

“Like in consumer electronics, advances in technology lead to miniaturization. In space technology for instance, the capabilities of small satellites today are comparable to bigger satellites 10 to 15 years ago,” David was quoted.

Developing and making microsatellites costs much lower than conventional full scale satellites.  “This allows smaller countries to be at par with everyone else,” David disclosed.

In the NAS binder, one of its key plans was to include 3 such small spacecrafts in the first quarter of 2017 “to demonstrate laser communications, formation flight and autonomous rendezvous and docking in orbit.”

Radio frequency communications systems’ capabilities to boost the amount of data to be transmitted by microsatellites will be tested and evaluated in the program. 

New capabilities for NASA with regards to science, space operations and exploration using small spacecraft will be demonstrated with regards to operational costs.

 “Small spacecraft are most often delivered to space using a rideshare approach, where the spacecraft uses launch vehicle capacity that would otherwise go unused by a primary payload,”  was indicated in  the transition binder.

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