PH gears up to launch its biggest satellite yet

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) is gearing up to launch its biggest Filipino-made satellite to space.

(Photo from STAMINA4Space)

Dubbed as MULA, or Multispectral Unit for Land Assessment, the newest Earth-observation satellite can capture operational-quality images of approximately 100,000 square kilometers of land area daily.

The satellite will carry a TrueColor camera capable of capturing 5m resolution images with a wide swath width of 120 kilometers.

MULA, co-designed by British company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), has a mass of 100 to 150 kilograms.

"Compared to DIWATA 2, MULA will be twice as heavy and bigger and more payloads are added and more spectral bands which mean it's more image applications and satellite products," said PhilSA Deputy Director-General Dr. Jane Perez during a virtual forum on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

Perez said MULA will "stay longer and take more images."

"While we wait for MULA to be deployed in a few years, the DIWATA-2 will still continue to capture images for product development and satellite development," Perez added.

MULA is expected to monitor national security, agricultural productivity, disaster, and coastal and ocean studies.

"We are faced with many pressing environmental issues with many implications to our economy and health, the impacts are further exacerbated by climate change. With the next-generation satellite such as MULA, we can harness the advanced technology to mitigate these challenges with one satellite," Perez underscored.

"Together with our capability to develop our own products, capacitate our own people, and build our own satellites in the Philippines, we move forward with the goal to create consistent and reliable data and secure long-term sustainability and plans and programs on space data utilization -- space programs that are sensitive to the needs of the country," she added.

The project is implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman and the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, and in coordination with PhilSA, who will oversee its completion and is expected to launch by 2023.