The PHL Microsat Program aims to build, launch and effectively utilize micro-satellite technology for multispectral, high precision earth observation. The program ultimately aims to launch two microsatellites in three years. The first satellite, Diwata-1, was launched from the International Space Station (ISS) on the first quarter of 2016. It will be a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite with an estimated altitude of 400 to 420 kilometers and a speed of around 7 kilometers per second.

The program is a collaboration between the Philippines' Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines Diliman headed by Dr. Joel Marciano and Japan’s Hokkaido University through Dr. Yukihiro Takahashi and, Dr. Kazuya Yoshida from Tohoku University.


Choosing a name for the microsatellite didn’t go through much deliberation. Diwata was supposed to be a temporary name but it stuck and became the official name of the microsatellite.


The satellite technology will eventually address the need for near real-time and on-demand access to data that will enhance local planning and decision support for climatology, disaster risk mitigation, and resource management. The program also aims to investigate and implement design enhancements on the electronic and computing systems and payload of the microsatellite through the local Microsatellite Research Facility.

The PHL-MICROSAT Program will lead the Philippines’ progressive improvement in space technology by employing its own satellite design and building capacity which is the vision for the 2nd satellite that will be launched at the end of the program in 2018. This program would serve as stepping stone to the creation of the Philippines’ very own Space Agency.


Headed by Dr. Marc Talampas of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (UP EEEI), focuses on the development of the microsatellites.

Headed by Engr. Alvin Retamar of the Advance Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), takes charge of the ground receiving station for the Philippine Microsatellite.

Headed by Engr. Mark Tupas of the Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry (UP-TCAGP), is in charge of the Data Processing, Archiving and Distribution subsystem development.

Headed by Dr. Enrico Paringit of UP-TCAGP, is in charge of the Calibration and Validation of Remote Sensing instruments.

Headed by Dr. Gay Perez of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (UP IESM), leads the development of remote sensing data products.

1. What is Diwata-1?

DIWATA-1 is the Philippine's first microsatellite, which has been built to undertake scientific earth observation missions related to weather observation, environmental monitoring and disaster risk management. It is a 50-kg satellite equipped with four optical payloads in the visible to near infrared region that enable the aforementioned science missions. For more information about the satellite's bus and payload systems, please refer to "Diwata-1" in this website.

2. What type of satellite is DIWATA-1 and what kind of orbit will it have?

DIWATA-1 falls under the microsatellite category in terms of size (approx. 50 cm linear dimension) and weight (10-100 kg). In terms of use, it is intended as an earth observation satellite. Following a similar orbit as the International Space Station (ISS), it will fly at an altitude of 400-420 km and inclination of 51˚.

3. How is it different from weather and telecommunication satellites?

Diwata-1 differs greatly from weather satellites for one, it occupies a Low Earth Orbit (400km) and is non-geostationary. Therefore, meteorological events such as typhoons cannot be monitored in real time. Also, weather satellites are much larger, which enables them to carry more capable and sophisticated sensors. Diwata-1 carries optical payloads for earth observation rather than communication payloads (transponders, amplifiers, etc) so it cannot be used for telecommunications.