Small satellites soon made in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology, in partnership with the University of the Philippines, recently inaugurated the first research and development laboratory for small satellites in the country.

The University ?Laboratory for ?Small ?Satellites and ?S?pace ?Engineering ?Systems, or ULyS3ES, will enable local development of small satellites – from planning to the actual construction and testing, according to DOST.

Located at the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City, the two-building facility has office and research spaces for researchers under the Space Technology & Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) program of the government.

It also has functional testing of small satellite components and integrated systems, clean booths for small satellite assembly and a thermal-vacuum chamber for space environment testing of nanosatellites.

The laboratory also has equipment that can simulate conditions that satellites would encounter in space, including a facility to measure antenna radiation patterns and a temperature and humidity test chamber.

The DOST said the laboratory enables engineering and science researchers to collaborate on the development of small satellites through relevant mission planning and the corresponding design, implementation and test of satellite and payload systems. 

It also aims to develop courses related to satellite development that can be incorporated in undergraduate or graduate curricula, and subsequently be replicated or adopted by other universities.

At present, students of two programs at UP – the Master of Science and the Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering – have the option to pursue the nanosatellite engineering track, which were developed and implemented in partnership with the STAMINA4Space program. 

“Apart from supporting academic research, the facility was built with local industry in mind as part of ensuring sustainability,” said Joel Joseph Marciano Jr., acting director of the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute.

“There are companies in the Philippines that design, manufacture and test wireless communication systems and they can avail of the facility’s services,” he added.

Aside from the aerospace industry, DOST Undersecretary for research and development Rowena Cristina Guevara also noted that other sectors such as the Philippine semiconductor industry could benefit from the facilities.

“There’s so many things you can do with it. While we’re talking about the aerospace industry, I imagine the semiconductor and electronics industry, the automotive industry and other industries can benefit as well,” she said.

The ULyS3ES laboratory also houses the engineering model of Diwata-2 and the flight model of Maya-1, which are among the first Filipino-made satellites deployed in space.

Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña noted that the facility was inaugurated in time for the recent passage of Republic Act 11363 that establishes the Philippine Space Agency.

He reaffirmed the DOST’s support for space initiatives, citing billions of investment on space-related research and development in the past decade.


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