July 23, 2019
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

DOST Constructing 2 More Satellite Ground Stations in Visayas and Mindanao

Philippines’ Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 “eyes-in-the-sky” to get two more ground stations to increase data transmission to Earth

By I.M. BIAZON

DUMANGAS, Iloilo — THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is set to put up a a ground satellite data receiving station in Dumangas, Iloilo, the first time installed outside of Metro Manila.

DOST’s ground receiving stations are called Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation (PEDRO) System, the first of which constructed at the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) at the campus of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.

The Dumangas ground station, scheduled to be operational within a year, expands the download of data captured from Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 microsatellites, the country’s first and only microsatellites.

There has to be a significantly wider coverage so that satellite data could cover the greater part of the Philippines, said Dr. Enrico Paringit, executive director of DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology, Research and Development (PCIEERD)

“So we thought it would be best to place it somewhere in the center (of the country) and essentially those are the features where Dumangas is most fitting,” he said.

Another ground receiving station will be set up in Davao City, Mindanao, also within the year, to cover the south while Dumangas will cover central Philippines,  doubling the data captured.

Site inspections have started to assess an appropriate location for the Dumangas station that will include a 3.6-meter wide satellite receiving dish.

The Dumangas and Davao stations will ensure that in case of breakdowns due to typhoons, natural calamities or even for technical reasons, backup stations will function.

Once operational the Dumangas satellite ground receiving station will shorten the time it takes to download data from the Diwata microsatellites and other satellite systems the Philippines subscribes to.

The Philippines presently has two microsatellites (Diwata-1 and Diwata-2) and a communication satellite (Maya-1).

Diwata 1 in Japan with EKU

Diwata-1 microsatellite at the Clean Room of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba City, Japan. (SDN file photo).

“You can only download some of the data that’s available during the period when it passes. So the more stations that you have, the more opportunities for us to actually capture the data,” Paringit said.

“For a better and wider coverage, we need similar facilities in other parts of the country,” he said in Iloilo. “The more stations that we have, the more chances to capture and download data from the satellites.”

When the Philippines satellites pass overhead, only eight minutes are available to download data. (IMB)

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