Blast off! Go on a space adventure using DOST's virtual reality simulation app

Go on a space adventure for free using the ASTI Virtual Reality Simulation (VRS) app.


Seeking to bring space closer to the Filipino people, the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) launched Wednesday, Aug. 25, the ASTI VRS app, a free and user-friendly application featuring a comprehensive computer-generated simulation of the country’s three Ground Receiving Stations (GRSs) and the Filipino-made satellites.

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the ASTI VRS app is DOST-ASTI’s newest initiative on promoting space technology in the country.

“Born out of the collective efforts of our researchers and developers, the ASTI VRS app is our creative attempt to bring space closer to the Filipino people. It features an interactive tour where you can explore the country’s three Ground Receiving Stations as well as our very own Filipino-made satellites, all in one free, and user-friendly mobile app,” he said in his message during the ASTI VRS app launch on Wednesday.

An amalgam of the space assets and infrastructure under the DOST-ASTI, the ASTI VRS app is now available in Google Play Store free of charge. The app lets you explore the ASTI-GRS in Metro Manila, the Davao GRS in Davao City, and the Iloilo GRS in Iloilo and the array of satellites available through the Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Center. The three GRSs house earth observation satellite transceiver antennas which transmit and receive data to satellites.

The users may download the app on Google Play:

“As the Philippines continues its journey in the new space era, the ASTI VRS app will help highlight the potentials of space science technology by helping the public gain a better understanding of the big picture, all while staying true to agency’s mandate of strengthening and modernizing science and technology infrastructure,” de la Peña said.

“We are hoping that the ASTI VRS, just like the previous developments highlighted by DOST, will raise public awareness and inspire everyone, especially the youth to take interest and grow an appreciation for space science research,” he added.

The ASTI VRS app also includes a satellite showcase where users can learn about the Filipino-made Diwata and Maya satellites as well as the different commercial satellites the PEDRO Center subscribes to.

Established in 2016, the PEDRO Center serves as the hub of the country’s Ground Receiving Stations, consequently managing the reception, processing and distribution of satellite images and other space borne data to the public. It also played host to the finer space infrastructure of the country, attracting experts and novices alike to a tour of the facilities.

"Despite the challenges and hindrances we are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, our enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge, especially for the youth, should remain fierce and ambitious. The ASTI VRS App aims to further raise the public awareness of these existing space technology and infrastructure through the more democratizing digital space, giving chance for everyone to take a step closer to space,” the DOST-ASTI said.

It noted that before the pandemic, the PEDRO Center welcomed the public to a tour of the facilities.

"Now with the pandemic, these facility tours have stopped. The creation of the ASTI VRS App aims to continue and bring the GRS experience to the public.”

The Institute said the ASTI VRS app was made through Unity, a game development platform by Unity Technologies, and its 3D models were made through Sketchup and an open-source software for 3D modeling, Blender.