PH-made microsatellite Diwata-2 celebrates second year in space

Kyle Chua
PH-made microsatellite Diwata-2 celebrates second year in space

FROM DIWATA-2. An image of Taal Volcano taken by Diwata-2’s Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI) after the eruption on January 27, 2020. Image from

During the last two years it was in orbit, the microsatellite captured images of a typhoon and the extent of the Taal volcano ashfall

The Filipino-made microsatellite Diwata-2 on Thursday, October 29, celebrated its second anniversary in space after first launching into orbit at the same date in 2018.

In its two-year journey, Diwata-2 has captured 19,349 images of the Philippines, which is about 82.01% of the country, and 32,256 images of the rest of the world.

The images are reportedly being used to conduct scientific measurements and experiments for environmental assessment and monitoring.

For instance, the microsatellite was able to acquire images of Taal volcano before and after its eruption earlier this year, providing some clues to the extent of the ashfall. It also captured detailed images of a typhoon and the moon.

“Diwata-2 has already covered twice as much half the time than its predecessor, Diwata-1,” said Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) program leader Dr. Gay Jane Perez.

“This is mainly due to its sun-synchronous orbit, allowing more frequent revisits and improvements made in pointing accuracy and mission operations from the ground.”

Similar to its predecessor, Diwata-2 measures around 50 cubic centimeters and weighs about 50 kilograms.

It’s currently flying at an altitude of 605 kilometers above sea level at the speed of 7.5 km/s in a sun-synchronous orbit.

“Moving forward, we also see Diwata to continuously serve as a seedbed to nurture growth in space science and engineering in our country through research and capacity building in satellite technologies and relevant space systems for the benefit of the society,” Perez added.

Diwata-2 was developed by scientists and engineers from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), in cooperation with Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan.

It’s considered as the third Filipino-made satellite to be deployed to space, succeeding 2016’s Diwata-1 and 2018’s Maya-1.

Researchers working on the satellite have also recorded a couple of recent breakthroughs. They were able to optimize image downloads, increasing turnover rate from acquisition to processing, as well as improve the satellite’s target pointing capabilities to boost its effectiveness in capturing images of a specific area.

The satellite is expected to remain in orbit for another 3 years. –

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