Senate wants Philippines to be ‘space-faring nation’ within a decade

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The Senate has agreed to create the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) — the nation’s answer to NASA.

Oscar Wilde once said: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”… and now he is joined by the Phlippine Senate.

The upper house has today (Monday, May 20) unanimously passed the Philippine Spaces Act. This seeks to create the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) — the nation’s answer to NASA.

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Under this agency, the Philippines aims to become a “space-capable and space-faring nation” within the next decade.

The act says: “The Philippines will focus on space applications that can preserve and enhance the country’s national security and promote development that is beneficial to all Filipinos.”

As we have previously reported, the nation already has some presence in the stars with its Diwata micro-satellites. The first of these was launched at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in March, 2016, and deployed into space with help from NASA and Japanese scientists. The second Diwata — named after a type of fairy in Philippine folklore — was launched in 2018.

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PhilSA’s policy will focus on national security and development, hazard management and climate studies, space research and development, space industry capacity building, space education and awareness, and international cooperation.

The agency will be given 30 hectares of land at Pampanga’s Clark Special Economic Zone for its office and research facilities.

It will receive two billion pesos per year in the first five years once the agency is fully signed into law. This will be sourced from the income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

On top of this, a further one billion pesos will be sourced from government coffers as an initial operating fund.

When signed into law by President Duterte, PhilSA will absorb the functions of the Philippines Space Science Education Program of the Science Education Institute, which is currently under the Department of Science and Technology.

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