Diwata-2 is set to be launched on October 29, 2018 between 12:08 to 12:30 GMT+08 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan via H-IIA F40 rocket. It is the Philippines’ second microsatellite developed and built under the Development of Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) Program, which is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), monitored by DOST-Philippine Council for Industry and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), and done through the collaboration between the University of the Philippines Diliman, the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), Hokkaido University and Tohoku University. It is one of five small satellites that are the secondary payloads which will be launched together with the satellites IBUKI-2 or also known as GOSAT-2 (JAXA’s Second Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite) and KhalifaSat, a remote sensing Earth observation satellite developed by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in the United Arab Emirates.
Maintaining the momentum in satellite development
Diwata-2 will orbit at a higher altitude (~620km) for an increased lifespan and a sun-synchronous orbit, which will enable fixed revisit intervals that would make repeated environmental monitoring of specific areas possible. Like Diwata-1, it will also carry a Wide Field Camera (WFC), Middle Field Camera (MFC), High Precision Telescope (HPT) and Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI) with Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF). All these mission instruments have undergone rigorous ground calibration and testing to ensure that they will perform optimally at the new orbital conditions of Diwata-2. Major features that distinguish Diwata-2 from its predecessor include deployable solar panels for increased power generation output and an Enhanced Resolution Camera (ERC), for increasing the resolution of images taken by SMI. Furthermore, it will feature two locally made experimental modules: an Amateur Radio Unit for emergency communications and a Satellite Orientation Module for increased pointing accuracy and future satellite development initiatives.
Diwata-2 has undergone major iterations since planning and design began in 2016, right after Diwata-1 was released from the International Space Station (ISS). These include a simulation model, a mechanical test model, an engineering model, and finally, the flight model. On August 29, 2018, the Diwata-2 Flight Model was completed and handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) the following day. Both Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 are Earth-observing microsatellites capable of capturing images of Earth for environmental assessment. The satellite control, operation, and acquisition of experimental data will be done at the Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation Center (PEDRO), which is housed by DOST-ASTI.
More than building and launching satellites, the Philippines is also committed to starting a healthy and sustainable local ecosystem for space technology. The PHL-Microsat Program is succeeded by the Sustained Support for Local Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program, which aims to build a local industrial base and enhance local space science and engineering expertise, which will ultimately prepare the country in the establishment of the Philippine Space Agency.
To reserve your slots for the live viewing of this historic launch at the GT Toyota Auditorium, UP Diliman, visit: https://bit.ly/2yU4hg3. Program starts at 11:00 AM. The event is free and open to the public.