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 https://www.youtube.com/user/jaxachannel.
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).