Diwata, DOST’s Pinoy-made micro-satellite to raise agri-productivity, advance disaster preparedness

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Diwata (“fairy”) the first Filipino built micro-satellite, named after Filipino mythological character weighs just 50 kilogram but the benefits are indeed heavy weight.

Diwata is a micro-satellite that was designed and developed by an all Filipino team of scientists and engineers now based on Japan who were trained in the technology in our hope of providing information to our farmers so they will be prepared on what crops to plant, when to plant and how they can provision contingencies in overcoming the ill effects of El Niño up to the middle of 2016” said DOST Secretary Mario G, Montejo.

As a landmark project of the Department of Science and technology (DOST) through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, the first Filipino made micro-satellite is poised to fly high in next two months.

This micro-satellite uses cutting edge technology, designed and assembled by Filipino scientists and engineers on a comprehensive training on satellite technology at Japan’s Tohoko and Hokkaido universities,

Instrumental to this DOST’s launch into this new horizon is mainly the project’s major nationwide benefits such as improving agricultural productivity and food security.

The micro-satellite, once put in space, will be able to send crucial data on weather systems which are crucial for our farmers to adjust planting methods and procedures in the light of climate change.

This satellite technology will greatly improve the capability of our national weather agency just like other countries around the world.

The DOST-PAGASA through the data that will be generated by Diwata will be able to predict extreme weather systems like the Niño phenomenon that can dramatically affect agricultural productivity, crop yield and threaten food security.

In fact, PAGASA was able to map out months in advance, its strategy before the onset of El Niño last Month 2015.

This was made possible due to satellite weather data sourced out from independent satellite data providers at that time.

Using satellite data and imageries, PAGASA was able to make forecast on the extent and severity of El Niño in the different provinces and regions on a month-to-month basis.

This will allow the sectors involved in producing and processing agricultural products to plan and establish safety net to cushion the impact of the dry spell.

With Diwata up there PAGASA forecasting will greatly improve because of more available data at its disposal.

According to Montejo these same data gathered by DIWATA can be used to monitor our forest cover and national resource, implement a responsible disaster risk management program, like Project NOAH, enhance water resources management systems and improve weather monitoring and forecasting.

The day when the micro-satellite branded as ”Proudly Filipino Made” to be our eye-in-the sky was handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) by project collaborators Philippines and two Japanese universities marked a milestone for Philippine venture in the outer space.

Diwata will be sent to the United State, either in Florida or California by JAXA for its launch to be carried to the International Space Station that will orbit the earth 400 kilometers up in space.

“We at the DOST believe that this is a big step toward to attaining technological self-reliance by harnessing the power of science, technology and innovation. The talents of our scientists are working for our people and we are confident that the benefits of DIWATA will boil down to improving the lives of Mang Juan and Aling Maria in the long run” said Montejo finally (PSciJourn MegaManila)

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