The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) kicked off its Space Information Infrastructure Capacity Building and Training Program (SIICaP) project with the webinar, “Tara na sa SIICaP ISKUELA!” on 29 April 2022. The webinar is the first in the series of activities spearheaded by PhilSA Space Information Infrastructure Bureau (SIIB). SIICaP is aimed at promoting awareness of how Space Science Technology Applications (SSTA) improve lives. The project is part of PhilSA’s ISKUELA initiative, which stands for Inclusive SSTA Know-how, Utilization, Exchange, and Localization Activities.
Cascading downstream data
PhilSA Director General Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. opened the program with the introduction of ISKUELA. He explained how it multiplies the value of current local space capabilities by cascading the agency’s know-how and technologies and extending it to local groups in the country to create impactful societal change.
“SIICaP ISKUELA in particular is about the downstream, primarily. It’s about cascading the current capabilities and know-how that we have in the utilization and operationalization of space borne data – satellite images. And we want that to reach as many groups in the country as much as possible this year, and unto the next,” Dr. Marciano said.
At the forefront of downstream space data processing is PhilSA SIIB. Dr. Ariel Blanco, PhilSA SIIB Director expounded on the various services of the bureau: “PhilSA is leveraging the previous initiatives of academic institutions and government agencies. It has established two flagship programs to enhance both upstream and downstream sectors of the Philippine space ecosystem. These are the Build, Build, Build in Space (B3iS) or the Philippine Satellites as a Vital Component of [the] National ICT Infrastructure, and the Mobilizing Space Data for digital inclusion, economy, and government.”
The following are the divisions under the SIIB introduced in the webinar:
Division: Space Mission Control and Operations Division (SMCOD)
Role and functions: PhilSA’s mission control center, responsible for satellite tasking and operations and space data management.
Division: Space Data Mobilization and Applications Division (SDMAD)
Role and functions: PhilSA’s space data processor, which leads in the development of downstream space science and technology applications from satellite-derived data for various end-users and stakeholders.
Division: High Performance Computing and Information Systems Division (HPCISD)
Role and functions: PhilSA’s handler of computing resources and information systems, which manages High-Performance Computing facilities, and the development, maintenance, and security of information systems of the space agency.
Reaching out to include ordinary Filipinos in the space ecosystem
SIICaP is a series of events that promotes the knowledge and understanding of the space information infrastructure and their applications. Engr. Cyrus Nikko Pante, Project leader of SIICaP and an Information Technology Officer of HPCISD brought up the various applications of space technology in areasof food security and agriculture, disaster risk reduction, and humanitarian crisis prevention, natural resources and environmental management, among others.
“SSTA has the potential to contribute in direct or indirect ways to achieve sustainable development. [PhilSA has] developed expertise in SSTA. The availability of these technologies are also increasing. However, according to the United Nations, there are bottlenecks that hinder their application. The main bottleneck is the lack of awareness of the benefits of SSTA. Thus, we will help bridge these gaps through SIICaP,” Mr. Pante explained.
SIICaP activities will be composed of regular engagement with stakeholders through hackathons, workshops, training courses, and resource person support. From May to June 2022, SIIB will conduct Lakbay Kalawakan, a three-part webinar about the satellite technology of the country. Also happening in June would be the Earth Observation Portals Workshop. The workshop will feature a session on free and accessible satellite image data portals and platforms.
Participants in the webinar were encouraged to join an online community to collaborate more closely with PhilSA SIIB. PhilSA Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology Dr. Gay Jane P. Perez, in closing, emphasized the promise of getting involved in the space sector: “Without a doubt, the field of space is a very interesting one to say the least. It attracts space enthusiasts of all ages, students, and professionals. And I highlight everyone because we aim to be inclusive, and we aim to engage more individuals through our various activities such as webinars, short courses, hackathons, and many more as we work towards not only spreading awareness on the various applications of space technology but in building and sustaining a community with the common goal of utilizing space technologies to improve lives and create innovative solutions.”
#JoinTheMission and follow PhilSA on social media for news and updates on SIICaP and other activities.
You may watch a recording of the SIICaP kick-off stream here.
For questions about SIICaP, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org