Marcos bats for dev’t of MULA satellite project

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

October 19 2022, 4:48 pm

<p><em>(Photo from PhilSA's official website)</em></p>

(Photo from PhilSA's official website)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos has expressed full support for the development of the Multispectral Unit for Land Assessment (MULA) satellite project.

This, after Marcos on Tuesday met with officials of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) at Malacañan Palace in Manila to discuss the national space program.

During the meeting, Marcos expressed optimism that the target to launch MULA satellite in 2025 will be achieved, Malacañang said in a news release on Wednesday.

“I am looking forward to the development of our MULA satellite and its subsequent launching sometime in 2025,” Marcos, as quoted by the Palace, said in his meeting with DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. and PhilSA officials led by Director General Joel Joseph Marciano.

The MULA satellite project, funded by the DOST, is being implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman and the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, in coordination with the PhilSA.

The MULA satellite is considered a “game-changer” in Philippine space technology because it will be the largest satellite that will be developed and built by an all-Filipino team of engineers from PhilSA.

Weighing approximately 130 kilos, the MULA satellite can cover 73,000 square kilometers in 24 hours, gathering data on all land, air and sea territory of the Philippines.

Once in orbit, the MULA satellite can detect air and water quality; determine abundant fishing grounds; zoom-in on traffic situations in cities and urban centers; and detect presence of ships in Philippine waters.

The Filipino-made satellite also aims to improve maritime domain awareness, territorial monitoring and security evaluation.

Marcos, Malacañang said, lauded the DOST for its commitment and determination in the creation and development of purely Philippine-made MULA space satellite.

In a Facebook post, Marcos expressed confidence that the use of science and technology will help the government uphold the national security and sustain the country’s economic recovery.

“Ako ay naniniwala na sa pamamagitan ng mga datos at siyensya na mayroon sila, mas mapapaigting natin ang ating pambansang seguridad, maging ang kahandaan sa mga kalamidad at sa pagpapa-unlad ng ating ekonomiya (I believe that through the use of data and science, we will be able to ensure national security, even our readiness to respond to calamities and boost our economy),” he said.

The funding for the MULA satellite is included in the proposed 2023 National Expenditure Program which, once approved by Congress, will be part of the General Appropriations Act for 2023.

For 2023, PhilSA sought to earmark around PHP828 million for the development the MULA satellite project.

Marciano earlier said the country is expected to gain PHP5.782 billion from the MULA project, mostly from the value of the data produced within a five-year lifetime for a single satellite. (PNA)