By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata
MANILA (PNA) – Diwata-1, the country’s first microsatellite, has captured images of some portions of Dumingag town in Zamboanga del Sur, a mountainous area in Mindanao, an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology shared.
Those images were taken by the high precision telescope (HPT), one of the four cameras onboard Diwata-1, during the microsatellite’s test phase.
The Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) and the University of the Philippines Diliman described the images have a ground resolution of 3m at nadir (lowest point), which is the highest resolution attained by a microsatelite in the 50-kg class like Diwata-1.
ASTI and UPD are coordinating with Japan’s Hokkaido and Tohoku Universities that currently handle Diwata-1’s operation.
The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) noted that the Filipino-made microsatellite’s HPT was able to capture clearly the trees, rock surfaces, mountain paths, river as well as some man-made objects.
It added that compared to images taken by the 2,600 kg American earth observation satellite Landsat 8’s operational land imager (OLI) which also has a 30m ground resolution, OLI’s images was only able to identify rough structures, but the detailed geographical features were unclear.
Thus, with clearer images that Diwata-1’s HPT can take, it will be easier to identify areas affected by disasters such as floods and fires, PCIEERD emphasized, adding that one of the camera’s missions is to determine the extent of damages from natural hazards.
Meanwhile, Diwata-1’s HPT was also able to capture images of an urban area in Florida, United States.
Buildings and roads are clearly distinguishable from vegetation in these images, the agency said.
The HPT’s ability to take images of other countries is a good sign that Diwata-1 is capable of sharing and exchanging images among a constellation of microsatellites of other countries.
Diwata-1 has four cameras for earth observations. The images from Diwata-1 will be used for research and in remote sensing.
The DOST earlier said that Diwata-1 might be in normal operation phase by August.
In this phase, it will capture images on a regular basis to support the science mission objectives, such as assessment of damages associated with disasters, surveying agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and studying environmental changes in the country.