The National Research and Development Institute of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Tsukuba Space Center announced that the deployment of the Philippines’ first microsatellite, Diwata-1, from Kibo is tentatively scheduled on 27 April 2016.
The deployment will be broadcasted through JAXA’s official channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/jaxachannel.
The Diwata-1 was launched on 23 March 2016 (Japan Time) in Florida, USA and is now carried by the International Space Station (ISS). This will mark the first time that a 50-kg. class satellite will be deployed from the Japanese Experimental Module (Kibo) in the ISS. In a statement, JAXA acknowledged this milestone, noting “the deployment of the microsatellite combines the only air lock and robot arm in the ISS used in Kibo operations, which in the future, is expected to be one of the important means to meet the launch needs of microsatellites.”
The main payload of Diwata-1 consists of the following: (a) high precision telescope (HPT) for high resolution imaging, which could be used for assessment of the extent of damage during disasters; (b) spaceborne multispectral imager (SMI) with liquid crystal tunable filter (LCTF) for monitoring bodies of water and vegetation; and (c) wide field camera (WFC) for observing large-scale weather patterns.
The Diwata-1 is one of two microsatellites planned for development under the program, “Development of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat),” which is a joint initiative of the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the University of the Philippines Diliman, Tohoku University, and Hokkaido University. The development of Diwata-1 was undertaken by a team of Filipino engineering and science scholars in Tohoku University and Hokkaido University, together with Japanese collaborators under the program. The PHL-Microsat is a three-year program that aims to enhance capacity building in space technology development in the Philippines. Apart from the development of Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 microsatellites, the other program components involve the establishment of a microsatellite research and instructional facility in UP Diliman; the construction and operation of a microsatellite ground control station; the calibration and validation of payload instruments; and the development of remote sensing products and data distribution mechanisms for the microsatellite images.