Philippines joins global space race with new national space agency

Philippines joins global space race with new national space agency

Max Blenkin

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has authorised the creation of the Philippine Space Agency, which follows the recent launches of the Turkish Space Agency in February and the Australian Space Agency in July last year.

The Philippine Space Agency will co-ordinate all of the government’s space related activities and policy, now spread across multiple agencies.

The objectives include national security, hazard management and climate-change mitigation, along with research and development in satellite and other technologies, growing the country’s private space industry and international collaborations.

The Philippine Space Agency will start out with a budget of 1 billion ($28.2 million) from the Office of the President.

Continuing funding will come from the national budget and the Space Development Fund, established under the same legislation as the space agency. That will provide funding in annual instalments of 2 billion over the next five years.

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The Philippines doesn’t immediately come to mind as a space nation but it has been involved in space activities since the 1960s when the administration of former president Ferdinand Marcos built a satellite ground station.

Since then, the country has developed an active space sector, operating a number of satellites. Last year the first Philippine nano-satellite was launched from the International Space Station.

Those involved in the Philippine space sector have welcomed the creation of a guiding agency.

“Back in 2013, it was still a dream for most of us in the field of space science, but we are very happy to see it finally come into fruition,” Rogel Mari Sese, president of Philippine space consultancy Regulus SpaceTech, said on the website Nature.

Sese said the new agency would conduct research in space technology and support academic institutions doing research.

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