Face shield, medicine blister pack, nori, and fried milkfish or bangus were made into model satellites Philippine Space Agency’s (PhilSA) model satellite-building competition. (Photo from Philippine Space Agency)

Recyclable and edible materials were transformed into model satellites during the Philippine Space Agency’s (PhilSA) model satellite-building competition, which seeks to encourage the younger generation to someday take the lead in making innovations to benefit humanity.

As part of this year’s celebration of World Space Week, the PhilSA organized a “Build Your Own Model Satellite” activity and competition for kids aged 9 to 10 years old.

Diwata satellite engineer Ariston N. Gonzalez of the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program introduced the participants and their parents to the world of satellite development through a live virtual lecture.

Gonzalez emphasized the need to develop satellites for Earth observation, communication, navigation, habitation such as the International Space Station (ISS), and experimentation.

The competition had two categories namely Category A for recyclable materials and Category B for edible materials.

For the recyclable materials category, the model satellite that won first place was made out of plastic bottles, medicine blister packs, and bottle caps, while other entries were crafted using milk carton, face shields, and tin cans.

As for the edible materials category, the winning piece was built out of nori sheets, while the model satellite that took the second spot was made out of shrimp, fried pork, and fried milkfish.

Dr. Ruby R. Cristobal, chief science research specialist of the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), hopes that the activity would encourage the participants to learn more about space science.

“We hope that this will further spark more curiosity in you to learn more about space science and help discover new knowledge and new ways to improve our understanding of the moon, the stars, the planets, and the universe,” Cristobal said.

Joseph V. Gutierrez, senior education program specialist of the Bureau of Curriculum Development of the Department of Education urged the participants to keep learning and underscored the importance of having a support system and access to education to achieve dreams.

“These kids have exhibited creative and innovative skills. Building out of something is an ability that may come naturally but can also be developed given the right conditions, especially the support of parents,” he said.

“We hope to see our next generation of space scientists from these kids. Keep the spirit of creativity and innovation burning,” he added.

The winning models were announced during the PhillSA’s World Space Week 2021 closing program last Oct. 9.