PH eyes launch of biggest, costliest satellite in 2025
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is now developing its fifth and most expensive satellite for launching in 2025, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced after meeting with officials of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) in Malacañang.
“I am looking forward to the development of our [Multispectral Unit for Land Assessment, or Mula] satellite and its subsequent launching sometime in 2025,” the president said after meeting with Science Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. and PhilSA officials, led by Director General Joel Joseph Marciano, on Tuesday.
In a tweet after the meeting, Marcos said he believed that with the data and other scientific innovations that the PhilSA has, “we will be able to enhance our national security, as well as our preparedness for disasters, and the improvement of our economy.”
In a statement, Malacañang described the Mula satellite as “a game changer” in Philippine space technology because it will be the largest Filipino-made satellite and will cost more than P2.578 billion.
To continue the project through next year, the PhilSA has allotted P828 million which, once approved by Congress, would be part of the 2023 national budget.
Weighing approximately 130 kilograms, the Mula satellite can cover 73,000 square kilometers in 24 hours, gathering data on all land, air, and sea territory of the Philippines.
Once in orbit, the Mula satellite can detect air and water quality, determine abundant fishing grounds, zoom in on traffic situations in cities and urban centers, and detect the presence of ships in the county’s territorial waters.
The satellite also aims to improve maritime domain awareness, as well as 24-hour territorial monitoring and security evaluation.
The Mula satellite-building team is led by the University of the Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, in coordination with the PhilSA and with the help of the UK firm Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
The Mula satellite project takes off from knowledge gained in the building and launch of the Diwata and Maya nanosatellites in recent years.
The country’s satellite development program began in the 1970s when the government undertook a joint venture with businessman Potenciano Ilusorio and then defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile to form the Philippine Communications Satellite Inc. (Philcomsat), now Philcomsat Holdings Corp.