Filipinos will soon have their second satellite orbiting in space through Diwata-2.

It was learned from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) in Quezon City that engineers and scientists in Japan have already completed the flight model of Diwata-2.

The UPD announced this revelation on Sunday, September 23, through its online platform, and a day after on Facebook.

UPD said the target launch of Diwata-2, “sibling” of Diwata-1, is on October 29 from Tanegashima Space Center, Tanegashima Island in Japan on board the H-IIA F40 rocket.

Diwata-2 will be sent direct to its orbit higher than that of Diwata-1, something that would give the former a longer life span in space.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is in a partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for the space program.

Funded by the DOST, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology (DOST-PCIEERD), is monitoring the space program for two microsatellites; Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 are the fruits of the collaboration under the program between Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), UPD, and two Japanese educational institutions, Hokkaido University (HU) and Tohoku University (TU).

It can be recalled that Diwata-1 was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft on March 23, 2016 and deployed in space from the ISS using the Japanese Experimental Model (JEM) named “Kibo” or Hope around 400 km above Earth just over a month later on April 27.

Diwata-1 marked the Philippines’ first-owned microsatellite (50 kg class) designed, developed, and assembled by Filipino engineers in collaboration with Japanese engineers and scientists of HU and TU.

UPD said that “Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 are Earth-observing microsatellite capable of capturing images of the Earth for environmental assessment.”

The space-borne products are from the Philippine Scientific and Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat), which has complete ground station called the Philippine Earth Data Resources Observation (PEDRO) based at DOST-ASTI in UPD Campus.

Here’s the UPD announcement:

Diwata-2 nears launch with Flight Model completion


Diwata-2 FM on Vibration Test Platform (Mission Side)

Diwata-2 inches closer to reaching space, with the targeted date of launch set on October 29, 2018 between 12:08 to 12:30 GMT+08 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan via H-IIA F40 rocket. Diwata-2 is the second Philippine-made microsatellite 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 was planned and designed in 2016 right after Diwata-1 was released from the International Space Station (ISS). Both Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 are Earth-observing microsatellites capable of capturing images of the Earth for environmental assessment.

A step forward from its predecessor

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) but with notable improvements in performance.

The major features that distinguish Diwata-2 from its predecessor include deployable solar panels for increased power generation output and an Enhanced Resolution Camera (ERC) which increases 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 began. 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) on the following day. It currently continues to make its final steps towards space.

You can see the microsatellite’s journey and milestones so far in the following photos:

Diwata2 b
Diwata-2 FM on Vibration Test Platform (sun-facing side up)

Diwata2 c

Spacecraft electronics designed in the Philippines. Inscriptions mark the Filipino craftsmanship involved, as represented by the Philippine flag, the Baybayin translation for “Diwata”, and the names of the PHL-Microsat Project 1 team members (right).

Diwata2 d

Radiometric calibration was conducted on Diwata-2’s payloads. Calibration Images are obtained at different camera settings and at different known radiance values using an integrating sphere.

Diwata2 e

PHL-Microsat team members conducting extensive checks after vibration test. The Flight Model itself has undergone several environmental tests such as thermal tests before being accepted by the Japanese space agency.

Diwata2 f

Solar Array Panel Deployment Test of Diwata-2 Flight Model. The inclusion of deployable solar array panels (not equipped in Diwata-1) provide an additional source of power to the unit.

Diwata2 g

The Thermal Vacuum Test setup before the chamber door is closed. In this test, the satellite is subjected to the same extreme conditions experienced in space. (all images from UPD)