Space program of the Philippines

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The space program of the Philippines is being maintained by several government agencies under the Department of Science and Technology. Among these agencies are the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council[1][2][3] The Department of Science and Technology and the Manila Observatory crafted a 10-year masterplan in 2012 to make the Philippines a "space-capable country" by 2022.[4] A unified Philippine Space Agency is also planned to be established.


Early initiatives[edit]

Efforts to establish a Philippine space program dates as early as in the 1960s, when US President Lyndon Johnson discussed with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in 1966 about the possibility of establishing a joint US–Philippine space program to monitor storms in Asia. If such plans have pushed through it would have been the first time Asians get involved in space activities.[5]

In the mid-1960s, the Philippine Communications Satellite (Philcomsat) was established when the Marcos government built an Earth satellite receiving station.[6] Philcomsat was a founding member of Intelsat, an international satellite consortium.[7] It also had an exclusive franchise for satellite communication in Southeast Asia, as well as in Korea and Japan. It was also responsible for providing the equipment which enabled people in Asia to watch the Apollo 11 launch, which took place in July 16, 1969.[8] The wholly government-owned company became a private corporation in 1982.[6]

PASI and Mabuhay's satellite ventures[edit]

Agila-2, the first launched satellite of the Philippines. The satellite now operates as ABS-3.

In 1974, the Philippines planned to use satellites to improve communications. The leasing of satellites from Intelsat was considered but it was later decided to lease capacity from the Indonesian Palapa system. There were interests for a national communication satellite but initiatives to obtain one did not start until 1994, when the Philippine Agila Satellite Inc. (PASI), a consortium of 17 companies, was established to operate and purchase domestic satellites.[9] [10]

The Mabuhay Philippines Satellite Corporation (MPSC), another consortium, was formed in the same year by PLDT, which was a former member of PASI. PLDT was the largest member of PASI before its departure from the consortium. MPSC was composed of numerous domestic telecommunications and broadcasting companies, along with Indonesia-based Pasifik Satelit Nusantara and China-based Everbright Group.[10] [11]

Then, President Fidel V. Ramos expressed his desire for a Philippine satellite to be in orbit in time for the APEC Summit to be held in the country in November 1996.[10]

MPSC complied with the acquisition of Indonesian satellite Palapa B-2P from Pasifik Satelit Nusantara. The satellite was moved to a new orbital slot on August 1, 1996. The satellite was renamed Agila-1 and became the first satellite in orbit to be owned by the country.[12][13][14]

MPSC launched the country's second satellite, Agila-2, with assistance of China. The communications satellite was launched through the Long March 3B at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on August 19, 1997. The satellite was acquired by Asia Broadcast Satellite in 2011[15] and was renamed to ABS-3.


In the 2010s, the Philippine government got involved in space ventures. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) initiated the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) program to send two microsatellites in 2016 and 2017. The effort is part of the country’s disaster risk management program. A receiving station will also be built in the country.[16][17] The efforts were part of a bigger project, together with seven other Asian countries aside from Japan and the Philippines, to create a network of about 50 microsatellites.[18]

The first satellite under this program Diwata-1, the first satellite designed and assembled by Filipinos, with cooperation from the Hokkaido University and Tohoku University.[19] One of the major goals of the PHL-Microsat program is to boost the progress on the creation of the Philippine Space Agency.[20]

Space education[edit]

The Department of Science and Technology–Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) launched the first Philippine Space Science Education Program (PESSAP) in 2004, to promote science and technology, particularly space science, as a field of study to the Filipino youth.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Luces, Kim (October 15, 2013). "Reaching for the stars: Why the Philippines needs a space program". GMA News. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  2. ^ Cinco, Maricar (November 7, 2012). "Gov't space agency pushed". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  3. ^ Pineda, Oscar (March 10, 2013). "Country needs to upgrade weather detection gear". Sun Star Cebu. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ Usman, Edd (29 March 2015). "PH to become 'space-capable' in 10 yrs, according to DOST". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Philippine chief lauds U.S. stand in Vietnam". St. Petersburg Times. 16 September 1966. Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Wealth of Marcos recovered". Gadsden Times. Associated Press. 23 March 1986. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Businessman urged gov't to set up satellite". Manila Standard. 12 December 1993. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "Space Age plant due in Dutchess". Wappingers Falls: The Evening News. 26 July 1969. Retrieved 18 January 2016. 
  9. ^ Martin, Donald (2000). "Asian African South American and Australian Satellites - Philippines". Communication Satellites (illustrated ed.). AIAA. p. 463. ISBN 1884989098. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey; Waterman, David (26 November 2013). "Communication Satellite Policies in Asia". Telephony, the Internet, and the Media: Selected Papers From the 1997 Telecommunications Policy Research Conference. Routledge. pp. 239–242. ISBN 1136684263. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "PLDT Forms satellite firm". Manila Standard. 2 November 1994. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "Mabuhay acquires Indon satellite;sets new orbit". Manila Standard. July 25, 1996. 
  13. ^ "Mabuhay Acquires Pasifik Satellite". Telecompaper. August 6, 1996. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Palapa B-2P". Weebau Space Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Agila 2 / ABS 5 → ABS 3". Retrieved 2018-01-25. 
  16. ^ De Guzman, RJ (June 24, 2014). "PH soon in space; DOST to launch satellite by 2016". Kicker Daily News. Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  17. ^ Usman, Edd; Wakefield, Francis (June 30, 2014). "PH to launch own microsatellite in 2016". Manila Bulletin. 
  18. ^ "Asian Universities + Asian Nations Go Small... Monitor Natural Disasters w/Network Of Microsatellites". Satnews Daily. 13 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 
  19. ^ Morimoto, Miki (6 March 2015). "Japanese, Filipino researchers to jointly develop satellites to check typhoon damage". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 10 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  20. ^ Usman, Edd (15 January 2016). "DOST says PHL joining Asian 50-microsatellite alliance of 9 countries". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  21. ^ Salazar, Tessa (28 February 2015). "Pinoys engage in 'rocket science' that literally holds water". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 15 November 2015.