It’s a lift off!

Diwata-1, the country’s first microsatellite has successfully lifted off to space aboard the Cygnus spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:05 AM of March 23, 2016.

It will reach the International Space Station (ISS) on March 26 where it will be released into a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) 400 km above the Earth’s surface. It will pass over the Philippines twice a day to take photos and measurements.

Cygnus launch with Diwata-1 Microsatellite of the Philippines
An Atlas V rocket blasts off to space with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft carrying the Diwata-1 Microsatellite of the Philippines.

Diwata-1 is a joint project of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Micro-Satellite (PHL-MICROSAT) Program and Japan’s Tohoku and Hokkaido Universities.

Its functions include taking photos of disaster hit areas for assessment; monitoring bodies of water and vegetation such as rivers, lakes, seas and forests throughout the country; and observing weather patterns of the archipelago.

Diwata-1 engineers
Diwata-1 with its Filipino researchers and engineers.

The PHL-MICROSAT program is headed by Joel Joseph Marciano Jr., PhD and includes Filipino researchers and engineers from the University of the Philippines and DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI).

Another microsatellite called Diwata-2 will be launched next year while a ground station for the satellites will operate in the Subic Freeport.

Official Gazette of the Philippines