Philippine Satellite Provides Incredible High-Res Earth Images

The DIWATA-1 microsatellite captured a three-color RGB image of the island of Mindanao in the Philippines at a ground resolution of about three meters.

AsianScientist (Sep. 28, 2016) – The Philippines’ DIWATA-1 microsatellite, which means ‘fairy’ in Filipino, has successfully captured images with a ground resolution of about three meters—possibly among the first 50 kg-class microsatellites to do so.

DIWATA-1 was developed through a collaborative initiative by Hokkaido University and Tohoku University in Japan, and the Department of Science and Technology, and the University of the Philippines Diliman in the Philippines.

The microsatellite is equipped with four imaging devices with different magnifications, including a high precision telescope and a fish-eye lens camera. These features will help remotely observe a wide variety of phenomena, including weather hazards such as typhoons and torrential rain.

On April 27 this year, DIWATA-1 was launched into orbit by Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module that is part of the International Space Station. Three weeks after its release into orbit, DIWATA-1 captured a three-color RGB image of the island of Mindanao in the Philippines at a ground resolution of about three meters, eclipsing the resolution of a photograph taken of the same location by the large-scale Landsat 8 satellite’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) in the US. The OLI image has a ground resolution of 30 meters.

The successful imaging not only proves that it is possible to shoot high-resolution images with high frequency, but also establishes a powerful technique for microsatellites to capture spectral images at several tens of bands (wavelengths) or higher.

Meanwhile, Hokkaido University said that it will strive to improve the technology required to capture high-resolution images anywhere in the world twice a day on average. Furthermore, if the precision of the satellite’s technologies can be further enhanced, it is expected to improve the accuracy of spectral information used for agriculture, the fisheries industry, forest management, resource development, and disaster monitoring, among others.


Source: Hokkaido University.
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