Following its momentous and exciting delivery to the International Space Station (ISS) last March 23. 2016, Diwata-1 is now ready to be deployed to space, according to the National Research and Development Institute of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Tsukuba Space Center. At the ISS, Diwata-1 was housed at the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), nicknamed ‘Kibo’ and scheduled to be released on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 by the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) into space at an altitude of 400 kilometers from the earth’s surface.

Watch the deployment to be broadcast through JAXA’s official channel at


Interesting facts

 The deployment of Diwata-1 marks the first time that a 50-kg class satellite will be deployed from the JEM “Kibo’ from the ISS. The 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, could be used for assessment of the extent of damage during disasters; (b) spaceborne multispectral imager (SMI) with LCTF for monitoring bodies of water and vegetation; and (c) wide field camera (WFC) for observing large-scale weather patterns. Diwata-1 is expected to be in orbit for approximately 20 months and will be imaging the country twice daily.

The Diwata-1 is one of two microsatellites planned for deployment 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 monitored by the DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) 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. (Maria Elena A. Talingdan, DOST-PCIEERD).

Philippine's First Microsatellite “Diwata-1” to be brought to the International Space Station via Orbital ATK Commercial Resupply Services Flight 6 (OA-6) Rocket Release 



In 2014, the Philippine Government through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) embarked on a research program to develop the necessary local expertise in space technology and allied emerging fields in science and engineering. The flagship project of this effort is called the PhilMicrosat Program which is implemented by several departments in UP Diliman and DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI). It also partnered with two Universities in Japan to develop the country’s first microsatellite – the 50-kg imaging satellite called DIWATA-1.

Assembled by nine young Filipino engineers stationed in Tohoku and Hokkaido University for the last 14 months, DIWATA-1 is set to be brought to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 23, 2016. At the ISS, it will be housed in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), nicknamed ‘Kibo’. Towards the end of April 2016, the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) will release Diwata-1 into space at an altitude of 400 kilometers from the earth’s surface. DIWATA-1 carries four specialized cameras for various purposes including capabilities in imaging weather patterns, agricultural productivity and high resolution imaging of the country’s land and water resources. The satellite is expected to be in orbit for approximately 20 months and will be imaging the country twice daily. And while still in orbit, the same research team is targeting to launch the second microsatellite (DIWATA-2) in late 2017 or early 2018. 

Together with the microsatellite development is the installation of the satellite ground receiving station in Subic that is tasked to receive DIWATA-1 imagery as well as from selected commercial satellites. Another facility is currently being constructed is the UP Diliman Microsatellite Research and Instructional facility which will be the hub of training for future space technology research and development activities.

DIWATA-1’s delivery to the ISS is a momentous event for the Philippines especially to the research team and its partners. It is one step further in the country’s long journey towards developing homegrown science and technology expertise and finally put the Philippines in the list of nations that have the capacity of venturing into space and beyond.

The DIWATA-1 is one of the equipment in the payload of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft scheduled to launch at 10PM on March 22, 2016 (EST) from Cape Canaveral in Florida. NASA TV coverage will start at 10am 23 March Philippine Standard Time which can be viewed at or

Third Phil-LiDAR 2 Luzon Cluster Colloquium conducted

On its third year of implementation, the Phil-LiDAR 2 program also held its third Luzon Cluster Colloquium on March 9-11, 2015 in Naga City, Camarines Sur. This year’s colloquium was hosted by the Ateneo De Naga University Phil-LiDAR 2 team and attended by different Project Leaders and their research personnel from the participating Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) from Luzon.

The Phil-LiDAR 2 program is one of the offshoot projects of the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) program and was launched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in 2014. It aims to map out the natural resources of the country particularly agriculture, coastal, forest and rivers, and potential areas for renewable energy production through the use of Light Detection and Ranging System (LiDAR). With the complexity associated in developing a nationwide resource mapping system, the participating HEIs and SUCs under the program were convened again to harmonize and share best practices among the different project components.

In his welcome remarks, Engr. Raul C. Sabularse, Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) commended the output of the program. As of December 2015, 166 resource maps were produced (agricultural, coastal, forest, hydrological and renewable energy) and distributed to local government units and national government agencies. “I trust that with all these successes and accomplishments that you have achieved in the last two years, you will continue to give significant contributions to the communities and society in various aspects at the end of the program” Sabularse noted.

Dr. Ariel C. Blanco, program leader of Phil-LiDAR 2 also said in his message that this colloquium will give unique opportunities for the team because a training was done on the second day of the event. “I hope that during this capacity-building colloquium, we will increase the level of collaboration among the researches as well as the ­­accuracy of our products” Blanco emphasized.


Engr. Raul C. Sabularse, Deputy Executive Director of PCIEERD and Dr. Ariel C. Blanco, program leader of Phil-LiDAR 2 while giving their messages to the participants of the colloquium.

On the first day of the colloquium, project presenters from seven HEIs in Luzon under the Phil-LiDAR 2 program delivered updates from their projects and shared practices as reference. The HEIs are as follows: University of the Philippines-Diliman, Mariano Marcos State University, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Isabela State University, Central Luzon State University, Mapua Institute of Technology, and Ateneo de Naga University. Some of the updates they shared were on the improvement of their workflows and methodologies in data processing and field validation surveys for each resource component. Mentoring and clarification regarding the problems encountered by each attending HEI were also tackled in the open forum.

During the second day of the colloquium, four parallel activities were held: UAV/GNSS Surveying, Spectrometry and Matlab training. All four events were simultaneously held at the ADNU campus.

In closing, participating HEIs representatives shared their insights and testimonials on the held two-day colloquium.  “We are now in a critical milestone because the program is now on the nearing end. This colloquium gave us a venue to learn, improve, and benchmark with our partner HEIs to ensure that we will deliver the accurate output to our stakeholders” shared Lawrence David of Mapua Institute of Technology Phil-LiDAR 2 team.

The Phil-LiDAR 2 program is being monitored by PCIEERD and is funded by DOST.



TAAL LAKE, TALISAY, BATANGAS- Batangas State University (BatSU) successfully launched and demonstrated on February 4, 2016 its Tactical Operative Amphibious Drive or TOAD, a vehicle that can be maneuvered both in land and water.

TOAD is a low cost amphibious vehicle designed by the research team of BatSU headed by their president, Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo. Ronquillo said that TOAD is durable and rust resistant and manoeuvrable in open water navigation with up to six (6) person capacity. It is powered by two four-stroke engines and can be tracked electronically. He said further that TOAD was developed with the support from DOST-PCIEERD Regional Consortia Program and the guidance of DOST Regional Office 4 to address disaster and emergency response operations in flood prone areas.

Engr. Albert Mariño, DOST-PCIEERD Chief Senior Science Specialist attended the activity on behalf of DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Carlos Primo David. He said that the PCIEERD Regional Consortia intends to accelerate regional development through collaborations among the member institutions from academe like BatSu. “DOST-PCIEERD will continue to support research projects like TOAD to capacitate emerging research progress of SUCs in the region.” Mariño added.


 Dr. Tirso Ronquillo, President of Batangas State Univerisity and Engr. Albert Mariño, Chief Science Research Specialist, DOST PCIEERD during the launching.


TOAD roving around the Taal Lake, Talisay, Batangas