Sunday, 15 March 2015

"Diwata": a new satellite for the post-Agila generation

"Diwata": A new satellite for the post-Agila generation

(Or all after hearing news about a satellite that has been made 
rather than brought by Filipinos)

At first, it is quite amazing to have another satellite to be launched this coming year. And this time it is supported in direct by Filipino technicians and engineers.

That, based from reports, a satellite, code-named "Diwata", is to be made by Filipino hands rather than being bought in case of the two satellites that was being classified as Filipino-owned years ago, that sadly it end sold by a foriegn company leaving its memories of that past decade.

However, instead of a conventional satellite being flown by developed countries, Diwata is to be launched as the Philippines' first microsatellite incoming July 2016, made by the Department of Science and Technology in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. And it was started last October 2014, wherein 10 scientists were sent to Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan by the DOST to study and research on the making of a microsatellite. It was also in the reports that the joint effort between Philippines and Japan is part of the country's disaster risk management program, and it 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.

And like Agila of the past that has a facility for relays, a receiving station will also be built in Subic Bay Freeport at Zambales. The facility's purpose includes 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. And at the same time, a research laboratory is to be based at the University of the Philippines Diliman  with a task to develop improvements to the program. It will also have direct access to information processed by the ground receiving station.

The said plan also includes launching of another microsatellite that has to be developed by the said joint partnership, perhaps with the same intention of monitoring risk disaster and other possible details such as national security and to some extent, telecommunications. 

Yet despite having a team of Filipinos willing to invest knowledge in creating the said craft, its parts, tools, materials, are of course foreign made and even assembled in a foreign country under a joint partnership since there is no industry in the Philippines that is, in order to have such parts to be manufactured, despite having facilities that can possibly cater in developing smaller parts for telecommunication devices. 

But for most commentators in social media sites would say that "at least it is better assembled" than "being bought" for a million bucks. The satellites "Agila I" and "II" were being bought from Loral Space Systems, and another from an Indonesian company, by the former Mabuhay Satellite Corporation, but in case of the latter it end discontinued its satellite operations three years ago and became an investment institution, so was the satellites as it was being bought by a foreign owned telecommunications company prior to Mabuhay's discontinue as a company behind Agila. 

The demise of the Agila project took years for the Philippines to have another satellite, which is also another source of pride besides well-known artists and sportspeople. But, with the continuous use of technology, particularly in telecommunications comes with a demand for another satellite besides relying on other foreign-owned satellites for a good coverage. Ironically, the Philippines has resources to make it happen, yet having a mismanaged state and a trader-like nature of its leaders can't make it realise with its full-blown potential. They just bought a satellite decades ago from a foreign owned manufacturer and described as Filipino "with pride" and "promises of hope" being blared in media only to be sold and making everyone wait years only to hear a Filipino-made "Diwata" in online pages and social media.

But perhaps this time around lies a different idea for the half-hearted system to push it over: That besides investing in science and technology, they are trying to rally scientists to create, design possible satellites and other air and spacecraft, and telecommunications magnates to invest those kinds of projects mainstream media be called as a feat, with a showcase of that goddamn pride regardless of which country having the tools and materials to be assembled for. And of course, those companies would be willing to invest, all for the sake of expansion and of pride, just like what they did for Agila decades ago. 
And hoping not to repeat the mistake of letting it be sold to another foreign-owned company whether it is bought from a foreign manufacturer or assembled by Filipino hands. Anyways, what is important is at least science and technology has trying to flex its muscles in the "assuming that is improving" Philippines. 

But again, this writer reiterates its position in advancing science and technology, that with industrialisation, from small to heavy manufactures, comes an answer to end such dependencies in foreign supplies and utilise resources, manpower all for the common good. Of what is having Iron, Manganese, Copper, Silica, or any other mineral the Philippines itself has to offer if it has to be exported for an expensive material manufactured abroad? Or is industry being bragged by the "business sector" has to be limited to assembly line, import substitutes, and consumer goods? 

Regardless of the events, the "Panday Pira spirit" lives, and it requires thorough forging, ceaseless innovation, and commitment to building a better future.