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28 November 2017

Having a national space agency is inevitable. This is the belief that the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) holds into as they mold local talents in the field of space science through its activities under the Philippine Space Science Education Program (PSSEP).

The PSSEP, which began way back in 2004, aims to create awareness among students on career opportunities in space science to address skill shortages and industry needs. With the recent efforts and developments in the establishment of a Philippine space program, the PSSEP’s role has become vital as ever.

“Space is not a luxury anymore. It is now a necessity for a country to dwell in space related matters. Every nation benefits from space technologies that’s why the Philippines should inevitably pursue space efforts for its own development,” said Dr. Rogel Mari Sese who heads the National Space Development Program (NSDP and the PSSEP.

According to him, the Can Satellite competition along with other long-running educational activities conducted during the annual World Space Week celebrations are effective means of making the public, especially the youth, aware of the opportunities in the field of space science and engineering.

DOST-SEI Director Josette Biyo said the competition platform has been an effective way to engage and expose the youth in actual processes conducted in the field. She said the upcoming competition on November 28-29 in Los Baños, Laguna is expected to generate better results from the students.

“Since this is the third time we’re doing the Can Satellite competition, we believe the schools have already grasped what the contest is all about and therefore we believe they will be able to execute their launch and analyze their data better this time around,” she said.

She added that actual interaction with an actual astrophysicist like Dr. Sese, as well as with engineering and climate experts, would only deepen the learning of the participants.

Sese meanwhile said that the PSSEP’s impact now expands beyond the Philippines, as last year’s conduct of an international Can Satellite Competition during the hosting of the 23rd Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum in the country set an example to other countries like Malaysia and Thailand, with the latter already implementing their own competition based on the Philippines’ mechanics.

“Our educational platforms on space science are crucial ingredients that will dictate how fast this country will be able to establish competence in and benefit from space. For now, we are glad to lead the charge in sparking interests among our kids,” Biyo remarked. (30)