Mr. Wilfredo Pardorla, Jr. holding a nanosat model from the summer space school

The Department of Science and Technology, through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), supported the attendance of St. Cecilia’s College-Cebu, Inc. teacher-researcher Wilfredo K. Pardorla, Jr. to Samara University’s 14th International Summer Space School in Russia as the Philippines’ sole participant.

Samara University is one of the best institutions that offer aerospace education courses in the world. The university established the International Summer Space School in 2003 with the Progress Rocket and Space Center and the Volga Branch of the Russian Academy of Cosmonauts, and is supported by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

From March 26 to April 7, Pardorla participated in a 2-week distant education training program—the first stage of the summer space school—along with 200 final year undergraduates, master’s degree students, PhD students, young researchers and engineers. According to Pardorla, most of the activities in this stage are content-based and calculus-based calculations. Through an online platform, the course contents can be accessed and the assignments and quizzes were completed on a weekly basis.

On April 12, the number of participants was narrowed down to only 40 after the analysis of test results from the first stage of training, Pardorla was part of the selected participants to be invited to Samara University in Russia for the second stage of the summer space school—a workshop program from August 20-31—filled with lectures, presentations, roundtable discussions, and group projects on the design and operation of nanosatellites, exuding the summer space school’s theme this year, “Future Space Technologies and Experiments: From a mission idea to a nanosatellite project.”   

“All the knowledge we gain will from the summer space school will be tested in applicative manner through a nanosatellite project work that will undergo defense with the panel of experts. This will incorporate mission analysis, 3D simulations assembling, testing, and modeling nanosatellites’ functionality, calculations of power, link and mass budgets. In my case. I will collaborate with five other countries: India, Mexico, Ethiopia, Peru, and Tunisia. We are working on the Nanosatellite for Thermospheric Atomic Composition and Density Measurement (TACDEM),” Pardorla shared.

Pardorla with his teammates from India, Mexico, Ethiopia, Peru, and Tunisia

The overall objective of this summer space school is to involve young people into the development of nanosatellites, usher the implementation of more experiments in space, provide fundamental knowledge and skill in space technology applications, and establish cooperation between universities and countries. UNOOSA envisions that this short course will bring open access to space applications for sustainable development by building indigenous institutional capabilities in space science and technology and nanosatellite technology. UNOOSA Director Simonette De Pippo imparted with the summer space school participants, “I strongly encourage you to take your skills, experiences, ideas, and networks back to your home countries to make a difference. We need people like you to help bring the benefits of space to your home countries to make a difference to everyone everywhere.”

Just last year, DOST-PCIEERD announced the expansion of its space technology applications (STA) sector that will push the establishment of the National Space Agency that is focused solely on space-related efforts in the country. As the teachings of the summer school fall under STA, DOST-PCIEERD granted financial assistance to Pardorla through its Human Resources Development Program (HRDP), a program that renders support to researchers, faculty members, and S&T personnel of academic and research institutions by covering the financial expenses needed to attend conferences, fora, seminars, workshops, and trainings in and out of the country.

“I really want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to DOST-PCIEERD for providing support to ensure my attendance in the International Summer Space School in Samara University in Russia. It is truly helpful to passionate Filipinos who want to delve in the fields of aerospace engineering and space sciences,” expresses Pardorla. 

At his return, he is expected to train and collaborate with students, researchers, and engineers specializing in STA, propose programs and missions for nanosatellite applications, and present his learnings in S&T events.

“We are one step higher in achieving a CubeSat implementation project that will be assembled and done in-house in some of our universities in the Philippines,” Pardorla assures. “This is very essential to the country’s future space technology applications in the verge of the creation of our very own Philippine Space Agency. I’m planning on conducting capability building workshops in partnership with DOST-PCIEERD and some universities to maximize the scope for nanosatellite trends in the country.”
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