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04 September 2015

In an attempt to engage young students in an actual satellite development process aimed at learning space science, the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) recently launched the first ever Can Satellite Competition in the country.

In its Game Reveal, 12 public and private high schools from Region III, Region IV-A and the National Capital Region proudly flashed their can satellites (Can Sat), which they assembled in a five-day development and training workshop held on 24-28 August at the National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education for Development, University of the Philippines Diliman. 

The competition, which is part of the Philippine Space Science Education Program (PSSEP), is patterned after the Can Satellite contests being done in many countries. The Can Sat is a soda can-sized satellite which can gather basic atmospheric data such us temperature, air pressure and Global Positioning System, among others. The activity brings the process of satellite development and its importance closer to younger audiences.

DOST-SEI Director, Dr. Josette Biyo, said the activity aims to make young Filipinos to appreciate space science as its current technological applications become more important than ever.

“We want them to appreciate the benefits we derive from space technology so we can invite them to pursue careers in this line of work,” said Biyo.

Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) Executive Director, Dr. Carlos Primo David, who attended the opening program of the training, said that the competition is “a step in the right direction” in terms of government efforts in space science. He said that the government aims to have a Space Agency just like what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are to USA and Japan, respectively.

“Right now, we have 10 scholars studying in Japan and their goal is to build our first micro satellite, which we hope to launch in 2016. By 2017, we plan to launch a second micro satellite,” David declared.

PSSEP Focal Person, Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, said the outputs of the students were “better than expected” considering the training workshop only lasted for a week. A normal Can Sat training, according to him, takes several weeks up to one month.

Dr. Sese and his team will conduct visits to the participating schools to further guide the teams in assembling their Can Sats.

The Game Reveal marked the start of the Build Phase where teams are expected to improve on their CanSats they initially built during the five-day training.

The actual competition will be held on Oct. 5 to 7 in Los Baños, Laguna as part of this year’s World Space Week festivities, which will also be in line with the United Nation’s celebration of the International Year of Light. (30)