The US commercial spacecraft Cygnus carrying the Philippines’ first microsatellite Diwata-1 was successfully launched into space yesterday morning in preparation for the satellite’s eventual deployment into orbit next month.
Carlos Primo David, executive director of the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), said that with the successful launch of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft that carried Diwata-1 as one of its 7,500 pounds of payload, the next step was for the release into orbit of Diwata-1 in late April.
Cygnus is expected to dock at the International Space Station (ISS) around six hours after its launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
At the ISS, Diwata-1 will be placed inside the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) nicknamed “Kibo.”
Towards the end of April, Kibo will release Diwata-1 into space at an altitude of 400 kilometers from the earth’s surface.
David said Diwata-1’s deployment into orbit was tentatively scheduled on April 20 or 21.
He pointed out that the main event for the DOST and engineers in the University of the Philippines in Diliman is when Diwata-1 proves it could do its mission of sending satellite images of the Philippines’ land and waters from outer space a week or so after it is deployed into orbit.
“We’re hoping that by the first week of May we’ll have the first few images from Diawata-1,” David told reporters.
Source and image: Philstar