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H-IIA F4 rocket at the Tanegashima Space Center, Kyushu, Japan (Photo from JAXA)

Diwata-2, the Philippines’ second microsatellite, was launched into space on October 29, 2018 hitching a ride via H-IIA F4 rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan at exactly 12:08 p.m. (Manila time) and started orbiting in space at 12:51 p.m. (Manila time).

Officials from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), University of the Philippines - Diliman, Japan Embassy in the Philippines, Office of Senator Bam Aquino, researchers, students, reporters/journalists gathered in the GT Toyota Asian Center Auditorium in UP Diliman to witness the launch of Diwata-2 from a livestream from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) YouTube channel. The actual launching in Kyushu, Japan was also witnessed by DOST Secretary Fortunato De la Peña, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, Philippine Deputy Chief of Mission to Japan Eduardo M.R. Meñez, PHL-MICROSAT Program Leader Dr. Joel Marciano as well as PCIEERD Officials, Ms. Edna Nacianceno and Engr. Ermie Bacarra.

During the “local viewing”, the Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara expressed optimism over the future of space science and space technology applications with the launch of Diwata-2.

“The reason why we are doing this is not just because we can launch a microsatellite, but more because we would like to develop the human resource needed in order for us to actually put up a Philippine Space Agency and for the Filipinos to benefit using the data received from the satellites,” she said.

Similar to Diwata-1, Diwata-2 will capture images for the country’s environmental monitoring and post-disaster assessment. It has the same payloads but more refined and improved, namely the Wide Field Camera (WFC), Middle Field Camera (MFC), High Precision Telescope (HPT) and Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI) with Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF).

The second microsatellite differentiates itself from its predecessor with its longer lifespan of five years or more compared to Diwata-1 which flies at a lower altitude where there is more atmospheric drag. Its orbit is “sun synchronous,” enabling fixed revisit intervals, allowing environmental monitoring in specific areas.

Further, major features of Diwata-2 include two locally-made experimental modules: Amateur Radio Unit for emergency communications and a Satellite Orientation Module for increased pointing accuracy and future satellite development initiatives. It also has deployable solar panels for increased power generation output and additional payloads namely the Enhanced Resolution Camera (ERC) and Spaceborne Multispectral Image (SMI).

Solar Array Panel Deployment Test of Diwata-2 Flight Model (Photos from PHL-Microsat)

Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-MICROSAT) Project 5 Leader Dr. Gay Jane Perez said Diwata-2’s launch bolsters the government’s move to create space technology industry in the country.

“More than building and launching satellites, the Philippines is also committed to starting a healthy and sustainable ecosystem for space technology,” she said.

Perez said that the creation of the Sustained Support for Local Space Technology and Application Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space), an offshoot of the PHL Microsat program, aims to build a local industrial base and enhance local space science and engineering expertise, paving the way as the country prepares the establishment of the Philippine Space Agency.

The development of DIWATA-1 and DIWATA-2 was funded under the DOST Grants-in-Aid program titled, “Development of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-MICROSAT),” in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman, DOST-ASTI and the Japanese partners from Hokkaido and Tohoku Universities with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) as the monitoring agency.

The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) will be hosting the 2nd National Technology Business Incubator (TBI) Summit at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel this coming December 19, 2018. This event aims to showcase the government's support for startups through its firm plans and programs, foster communication between startups and public/private agencies, as well as share the best practices from other ASEAN countries related to business incubation and supporting startup communities.

The TBI Summit would be gathering together all DOST-funded incubators and other government innovation agencies, including key officials from these national government organizations, along with private incubators and accelerators with some international incubator managers, to explore topics related to the entrepreneurial and innovation community through various panel sessions.

Program of 2nd TBI Summit

Diwata-2 Flight Model (Photo from PHL-Microsat)

The second Philippine microsatellite, DIWATA-2, is set to be launched into space on October 29, 2018 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan via H-IIA F4 rocket.  Its flight model was handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) last August 30, 2018.

The development of the DIWATA-2 as well as DIWATA-1 was funded under the DOST Grants-in-Aid program titled, “Development of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-MICROSAT),” in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman, DOST-ASTI and the Japanese partners from Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech), Hokkaido and Tohoku Universities, with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) as the monitoring agency.  

Both microsatellites are capable of capturing images of the Earth for environmental assessment and for monitoring the country’s natural resources. Similar with its sibling microsatellite, Diwata-2 will also carry specialized cameras but more refined and improved, namely the Wide Field Camera (WFC), Middle Field Camera (MFC), High Precision Telescope (HPT) and Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI) with Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF).

 

Figure 1

Figure 2

Solar Array Panel Deployment Test of Diwata-2 Flight Model (Figure 1) and Diwata-2 Flight Model in Vibration Test Platform (Figure 2)

(Photos from PHL-Microsat)

Diwata-2 brings total improvement from its predecessor. It will orbit at a higher altitude more than 600 kilometers above the Earth level compared to Diwata-1 which only orbits at 400 kilometers. With this, its orbit will be “sun synchronous” which will enable fixed revisit intervals, allowing repeated environmental monitoring in specific areas. Moreover, Diwata-2 is 5 kilograms heavier than its sibling satellite, thus weighing approximately 58 kilograms.

Major features of Diwata-2 are two locally-made experimental modules as follows: Amateur Radio Unit for emergency communications and a Satellite Orientation Module for increased pointing accuracy and future satellite development initiatives. Other features include deployable solar panels for increased power generation output and an Enhance Resolution Camera (ERC) which increases the resolution of images taken by Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI).

Spacecraft electronics designed in the Philippines. The Philippine Flag and the Diwata name in Baybayin were inscripted. (Photo from PHL-Microsat)
 

With these more refined instruments carried by Diwata-2, higher resolution images can be beamed down to the ground receiving station located at the DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) in Quezon City. This can also further spark the country’s continuous efforts for the attainment of space technology undertakings towards the establishment of the Philippine Space Agency.

Another significant milestone of the PHL-MICROSAT program to look forward to is the completion of the country’s first ever microsatellite laboratory located at the University of the Philippines Diliman called “University Laboratory for Small Satellites and Space Engineering Systems (ULyS3ES),” which is targeted to be inaugurated before the end of 2018.

A launch viewing through live stream is being organized by the PHL-MICROSAT team on October 29, 2018 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Everyone is enjoined to watch another momentous event as the country’s second “Diwata ng Kalawakan” sets into space. Further details will be announced through the PHL-Microsat Facebook account at https://www.facebook.com/PHLMicrosat/.

Likewise, JAXA will also have a live stream of the rocket launch in its Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/jaxachannel.

It is the Filipinos’ joy and pride as we again go to space but this time higher and better.                                    
The 2018 Young Innovators Program awardees with DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peňa and DOST-PCIEERD HRIDD Chief Engr. Ermie M. Bacarra
 
 

31 AUGUST 2018 – The second batch of Young Innovators Program (YIP) awardees officially sealed their partnership with the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) held at the Heritage Hotel Manila.

Launched in 2017, YIP recognizes promising researchers under the age of 30 to further encourage them to delve into scientific research through provision of financial assistance. This year’s YIP awardees, who were announced last July 18 during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW), consists of six (6) aspiring young innovators out of 55 who submitted their research proposals. The six (6) YIP awardees, the academic institutions they represent, the title of their research projects, and the names of the members and mentors, are as follows

  1. Gerardo Martin D. Quindoza III

Mentor: Mr. John Kenneth A. Cruz

Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering – University of the Philippines Diliman

Project: Synthesis of Nanocellulose reinforced Chitosan Hydrogel as bioink for 3D printing of artificial articular cartilage

  1. Jeremy C. De Leon

Mentor: Engr. Febus Reidj G. Cruz

Mapua University

Project BAGWIS: A low-cost micro wind turbine system for lighting, charging, and electrifies floodwater detection

  1. Janina M. Guarte

Mentor: Dr. Joyce A Ibana

Institute of Biology – University of the Philippines Diliman

Project: Capitalizing on microbial interactions for improving shelf life and gut-health benefits of Carabao’s milk product (NICE4GUT)

  1. Neil David C. Cayanan, Shaira C. Gozun, and E’van Relle M. Tongol

Mentor: Ms. Lolita G. Bautista

Angeles City Science High School

Project: Hibla: An alternative sound absorption material

  1. Jether M. Arenga, John Angel C. Blancaflor, Kyle M. Enorio, Greg Norman C. Millora, and Jericho T. Portez

Mentor: Mr. Jimmy E. Unilongo, Jr.

Philippines Science High School – SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus

Project: Fortified Trees: Real-time data logging and analysis machine

  1. Joshua K. Pardorla, Christian Lawrence C. Cantos, Joefer Emmanuel T. Capangpangan, Dorothy Mae M. Daffon, and John Harold R. Abarquez

Mentors: Mr. Wilfredo K. Pardorla, Jr. and Ms. Almida Plarisan

St. Cecilia’s College – Cebu, Inc.

Project: Design and development of low-cost, high-performance hybrid rocket for Can Satellite deployment applications

 (Read more on their research projects: http://pcieerd.dost.gov.ph/news/latest-news/319-dost-pcieerd-awards-2nd-batch-of-young-innovators)

Opening the program for the MOA signing, Engr. Ermie M. Bacarra, DOST-PCIEERD Human Resource and Institution Development Division (HRIDD) Chief, congratulated the young innovators for being YIP finalists. She also added, “I would like to congratulate their parents for raising such talented and creative children, and praise the officials of the academic institutions that our young innovators represent, for continuously giving them support to follow their aspirations.”

“As a big part of the country’s population is composed of young people, it is only justifiable that we in the DOST, through PCIEERD, also give opportunities to our country’s young minds, hopefully inspiring students to pursue careers in science and technology,” says DOST Secretary Fortunato De la Peňa after commending the second batch of young innovators for their love for Science.

The signing of the MOA means that the grant may be released so that the YIP awardees can now start with their respective researches, with the guidance of DOST-PCIEERD.

Participants of the first Data Science Kapihan
 

28 AUGUST 2018—Members of the DATOS Project under the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) gathered researchers, stakeholders, and established data scientists to share their knowledge, expertise, and their past and ongoing R&D projects over a cup of coffee in a symposium titled “Data Brew: Data Science Kapihan” held in the DOST-ASTI Training Room.

DOST-ASTI Director Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr. opened the kapihan stating  that “this initiative is to ramp up to meet the challenges that our country faces in terms of what data science, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) can support; that is why we’re reaching out. This is really our effort for you to get to know us, for us to get to know you, and to figure out ways for which we can work together.”

In the morning session of the symposium, project leaders and members presented DOST-ASTI data-science-related projects. Jericho Capito discussed about the institution’s weather stations and the Understanding Lighting and Thunderstorms (ULAT) Project. Harold Bryan Paler talked about the Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Center, a satellite ground receiving station (GRS) that receives and provides space-borne imagery. Jay Samuel Combinido’s presentation was about the S&T infrastructures that they developed: the Philippine Research, Education and Government Information Network (PREGINET), a system that provides high-speed network to facilitate research and education collaborations among academic, government, and research institutions and the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (CoARE), a data storage facility and also serve as high-performance cloud computing facility that allows free access of its services to students, researchers, and data analysts. Roel M. Dela Cruz shared that the DATOS Project aims to address the need for a 24/7 help desk for remote sensing and data science that can support critical activities on disaster mitigation, analysis, and advise using data from CoARE and PEDRO. Jeffrey Aborot presented the details and results of the ASTI Labelling Machine (ALaM) Project. Guided by Balik Scientist Dr. Jose U. Rubrico, the ALam Project’s goal is to develop deep learning models that utilize labeled and georeferenced satellite images as input data.
 

DOST-ASTI resource speakers answering questions from the ‘kapihan’ participants

In addition to these presentations, resource speakers from other public and private institutions contributed to the gathering as well.  Dr. Delfin Jay Sabido and Adrian Cayaco from Stratpoint Technologies Inc., a digital enterprise software solutions company, imparted the importance of AI and machine learning in an enterprise. As the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the biggest user of CoARE, Jeffrey Detras, a bioinformatics specialist from IRRI, shared that genomics data is available for analysis, interoperability or the unrestricted sharing of resources between different systems is essential to collaboration, that internship and special problem opportunities are available in his division, and lastly, that AI applications are new to rice researches.

Adrian Cayao, Jeffrey Detras, and Dr. Delfin Jay Sabido await questions from the participants on their presentations

Dr. Enrico Merle, IT Manager of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), continued the exchange of ideas by showing and emphasizing that population data is essential to a country’s progress and development. The last resource speaker for the morning session is Eugene Villar, President of OpenStreetMap (OSM) Philippines. OSM is a crowd-sourcing mapping effort done by volunteers and is released with an open content. Villar believes that OSM promotes “better demographic intelligence that leads to a better Philippines.”

Eugene Villar and Dr. Enrico Merle during the open forum

In the afternoon session, the ‘Lightning Talks’ commenced wherein each speaker is given 5 minutes for their presentations. 17 resource speakers from various academic, public, and private institutions talked about data science in relation to various fields.

These are the speakers and the topics they presented:

1.Elmer Peramo – Deep Learning with R

2. JC Albert Peralta – Breaking Roads: Impact of Transportation Network Damage on Disaster Relief Logistics

3. Karlo Dela Cruz – Reducing Airline Operating Cost through Improved Forecast Accuracy

4. Patrick Lucanas – Iraya Technologies

5. Shiela Jimenez – Interactive Data Visualization

6. Rafaello Baluyot – Embedding in Natural Language Processing

7. Roel Dela Cruz – Multi-temporal Thermal Analysis of Heavily-Urbanized and Vegetated Areas in Metro Manila

8. Jay Samuel Ombinido – A Convolutional Neural Network Approach for Estimating Tropical Cyclone Intensity Using Satellite-based Infrared Images

9. Danielle Gayare – Linksight on Data Cleaning

10. Karen Faye Bathan – Logistic Regression for Employees’ Attrition Prediction

11. Diony Gullen – The Future of Audit: How Technology is Changing the Audit

12. Rudolph Joshua Candare – Center for Resource Assessment, Analytics and Emerging Technologies of the CARAGA State University

13. Feye Andal – University of the Philippines Resilience Institute – Youth Mappers

14. Allan Sioson – Gateway Software

15. Gabriel Lorenzo Santos – Machine Learning Reinvents Business

16. Narod Eco – Data Science Application in Geoscience Research

17.James Miraflor – Tala ng Bayan Laban sa Kahirapan (People’s Anti-Poverty Database or TALAMBAYAN)

Resource speakers from the first half of the ‘Lightning Talks’

 

Resource speakers from the second half of the ‘Lightning Talks’

After the ‘Lightning Talks’, a data science needs and capabilities identification activity was conducted. The participants were encouraged to write down what they need from and what they can give to the data science community, hopefully paving the way for more collaborations between data scientists.

To end the symposium, Jo Brianne Briones, a member of the DATOS team, thanked the participants for making the kapihan a success. The DATOS team hopes that this will jump-start data science discussions and collaborations.

The initiatives of the DATOS team are implemented by DOST-ASTI and are monitored and funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).