Scientists confident on launch of Phl’s first microsatellite

Original article by Rainier Allan Ronda from

TOKYO – The team of young Filipino engineers and scientists who designed and built the Philippines’ first microsatellite Diwata-1 expressed confidence in its launch into space in April and is preparing to work on Diwata-2, which they say will be a better microsatellite.

“There is actually a degree of confidence because we delivered everything that we should deliver. It should work,” Julian Marvick Oliveros, a 23-year-old electronics and communications engineer, told The STAR.

Oliveros, who graduated magna cum laude from University of the Philippines Diliman, is one of the nine young engineers and scientists sent to Japan for the handover of Diwata-1 to Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Space Center in Tsukuba in Ibarakai prefecture.

JAXA will ship and endorse Diwata-1 to the US from where it will be launched into space and deployed into orbit in April.

Experts from Japan’s prestigious Hokkaido University and Tohoku University helped the Filipino scientists and engineers in designing and building Diwata-1.

For Delburg Mitchao, who worked on the thermals aspect of Diwata-1, the microsatellite will stand the vibration of the rocket during launch.

“It can. And it will arrive safely in the International Space Station,” Mitchao told The STAR.

Mitchao also expressed confidence on the imaging capability of the cameras installed in Diwata-1 and on the communications equipment that would beam out the data to the ground receiving station to be set up by the Department of Science and Technology.

The DOST will set up the station in partnership with UP Diliman, Tohoku University, Hokkaido University and JAXA.

Ariston Gonzalez, a 26-year-old product engineer of multinational semiconductor firm Advanced Devices, said the team “made it up to standard.” But because there are still “uncertainties” with any kind of project such as microsatellite building, he admitted that he is still “nervous.”

Oliveros admitted that the doubts on the success of the launch of Diwata-1 were because the team rushed the construction in “miracle” speed, as described by experts from Hokkaido University and Tohoku University.

“The timeline to finish it was very tight. A regular time to develop a satellite is more than a year. You should build an engineering model and a flight model. If you encounter errors in the first engineering model, it’s okay because you have the flight model. Here, what we built as the engineering model is also the one we’re sending into space,” he explained.