By Dhel Nazario
Another milestone will unfold in Davao City as the second Ground Receiving Station (GRS) is set to be launched, unveiling the Philippine’s largest satellite-tracking antenna to date.
This will be undertaken three years after the first Ground Receiving Station (GRS) called The Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Center was set up at the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) office in Quezon City.
Soon to be fully operational, the Davao GRS will have the same functions as the first GRS installed at DOST-ASTI.
These ground receiving stations are designed to communicate with Earth Observation satellites, including the Philippines’ very own Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 microsatellites, by receiving, processing, and distributing space-borne imagery.
They also have direct access to a broad range of optical (high-resolution, multispectral) and synthetic aperture radar (cloud-penetrating, day-night-imaging) satellite data. Simply put, these ground facilities can upload commands and can download data captured by satellites deployed in space.
For the time being, the D-GRS will be remotely-operated and will be used for initial tests like telemetry download from free satellites such as Terra and Aqua. Compared to the ASTI GRS with only 3.7 meters, the D-GRS has a 7.3-meter satellite-tracking antenna which will allow more efficient download of images at a higher bandwidth.
The direct reception of data from satellite images provides the PEDRO Center more autonomy for near real-time acquisition of information.
With the ASTI and Davao GRS in full operation, the reception, processing, and satellite data storage cycle will open more opportunities to promote inclusive innovation, reaching more Filipino scientists and researchers in return.
Installed at the Civil Aviation Authority Philippines (CAAP) Transmitter Facility in Davao City, the D-GRS was established with DOST Region XI, CAAP, and Department of Information and Communications Technology.