Philippines to launch new satellite in 2018

admin   •   October 24, 2017   •   13296

MANILA, Philippines — In 2017, the first Filipino-made microsatellite Diwata 1 was launched in Japan. It is now being used to take pictures of Earth.

By mid-2018, the Philippines is again set to launch into space its second microsatellite Diwata 2.

The satellite was developed within a year by seven Filipino scholars.

According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Diwata 2, which passes through the Philippines twice a day, can be used for a duration of up 12 to 18 months.

It has the size of a big balikbayan box with four cameras that can take pictures and provide details of anything with a size of three meters.

This is an improved version with some capacity for communication, it’s like a radio and of course better cameras in place,” said DOST Sec. Fortunato de la Peña

Diwata 2 can be used for the analysis of climate and weather in the country, and for national security purposes like conducting surveillance in the West Philippine Sea.

It can also monitor incidents of forest fires and drought in particular areas.

The DOST said that the government can save a huge amount of money by using the said satellite than buying from materials taken by the satellites of foreign countries or private firms.

The agency cites as an example a satellite image of the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda in 2013 which the government bought for P56-million.

A bill seeking the creation of a Philippine Space Agency is now in Congress.

Under the proposal, the DOST is tasked to train about 800 people for the said program.

The DOST has a proposed budget of P21.8 billion for next year. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue


DOST tests efficiency of N95 mask; finds sulfur in dust particles from Taguig City

Marje Pelayo   •   January 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The UNTV News team has been given an exclusive tour to the Advance Device and Materials Testing Laboratory of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Experts at the DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) explained how they test the ability of face masks to screen airborne contaminants specifically volcanic ash.

DOST-ITDI Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory head, Beejay Salon initiated the testing of a piece of face mask that residents in Batangas are using – the N95 mask.

Ika-cut natin yung sample para makita natin yung layers ng mask (We will cut the sample to see the layers of the mask),” he said.

Using a state-of-the-art optical microscope or a low-powered stereomicroscope, they magnified the cut section of N95 mask 20 times.

The same procedure was done to an ordinary surgical mask.

“Kung ikukumpara mo ang dalawang images, yung N95 is mas pino, ito kasi mas malalawak yung pagkakalayo ng mga fiber (If we compare both images, the fiber in N95 is finer unlike in the [surgical mask] which is less compact),” explained Lab Manager Dr. Aracely Monsada.

So ano pong implication noon? Iyong N95 ay mas mataas ang efficiency niya (What’s the implication? N95 is more efficient) to protect the person from inhaling particles that are smaller,” she added.

Apart from smaller particles, N95 mask can also filter microbes and viruses such as the one that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

“Kaya sinabing N95 ibig sabihin 95% ang efficiency niya na pwede niyang i-block yung particles as small as 0.3 micron (That’s why it’s labeled ‘N95’ because its efficiency is 95% when it comes to blocking particles as small as 0.3 micron),” Monsada said.

The news team also had a piece of towel and a cotton fabric checked for efficiency.

Test results showed fibers in the said fabrics were not finely-knit.

DOST also demonstrated the use of its new equipment — the field emission scanning electron microscope — in testing samples of volcanic ash that reached the Department’s central office in Taguig City.

“Based doon sa result, may mga particles na may nakitang sulfur (Based on the results, we found sulfur in the dust particles),” confirmed laboratory analyst, Dhale Mar Alfeche.

“In terms of percentage, nakita natin na pinakamataas (the highest is) 9% sulfur,” he added.

Experts concluded that finer particles reach the farthest distance, because they are lighter in weight.

Therefore, exposure to such very fine ash particles poses high risk when inhaled or ingested.

“Kapag ito ay na-inhale ninyo, which is actually less than 2 microns, tapos nakikita mo merong mga parang needle-like particles, puwede kasing pagpasok niya sa system natin pwedeng mag-abrade siya (Once you inhale these needle-like particles which are actually less than 2 microns, it can be abrasive once it enters your system),” warned Dr. Monsada.

Tapos, kung aabot siya sa lungs pwedeng mag cause ng (If these particles reach your lungs, they can cause) cancer or other health complication,” he concluded. – MNP (with exclusive interview/coverage by Rey Pelayo)

PHL, Chinese Coast Guard hold joint maritime drills in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard and Chinese Coast Guard on Wednesday conducted joint maritime drills on search and rescue and combating fire at sea in the waters off the Philippine capital.

In a statement, the PCG said participating Filipino and Chinese personnel were given a scenario involving a vessel that caught fire while transiting Manila waters.

In response, the PCG deployed its 44-meter multi-role response vessel 4401, BRP Tubbataha, while the Chinese team dispatched vessel 5204. Both ships were equipped with water cannons used in firefighting assistance.

Five passengers and eight crew aboard the distressed ship were also rescued using rigid hull inflatable boats with rescue swimmers to aid the victims.

The PCG said the drill allows coast guard personnel to exercise interoperability and strengthen their capabilities in responding to such crises.

The joint maritime drills on search and rescue, and combating fire at sea are part of the week-long activities of Chinese Coast Guard’s port call in Manila.

The visit aims to strengthen understanding, mutual trust, and cooperation between the Philippines and China Coast Guard in a bid to promote maritime security and maritime law enforcement amid the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

‘Ursula’ further weakens, likely to exit PAR on Saturday

Marje Pelayo   •   December 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – State weather service PAGASA forecast slight weakening of Typhoon Ursula (International name Phanfone) as it further moves west-northwestward over the West Philippine Sea.

As of 10:00 AM Thursday (December 26), the weather system was located at 235 km Northwest of Coron, Palawan with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph.

Still, tropical cyclone wind signals (TCWS) #1 remains hoisted over the northwestern portion of Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island and Calamian Islands where winds of up to 30 to 60 kph is expected to prevail in 36 hours.

Residents in these areas are advised to take appropriate measures for possible landslides and flashfloods while sea travel remains at high risk over the seaboards of areas under Signal #1 due to rough sea conditions.

Meanwhile, PAGASA already lifted for Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, the rest of Occidental Mindoro, and the rest of extreme northern Palawan.

Through the day, light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains will prevail over northern portion of Palawan including Calamian Islands and Lubang Island.

Central Luzon, Metro Manila, Rizal, and Northern Quezon, likewise, will experience cloudy skies with scattered rains.

According to PAGASA, Ursula is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday (28 December) morning.


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