The country’s latest and most massive advancement in space technology will soon be ready for launch as the Multispectral Unit for Land Assessment, also known as Mula, the satellite is set for completion by 2023.
Conceived through the efforts of experts from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), as well as the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), under the Advanced Satellite and Know-How Transfer for the Philippines (ASP) project, Mula will be able to photograph a 100,000 square kilometer area of the Earth, daily.
Weighing in at 130 kilograms (kg), Mula dwarfs the microsatellites Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 that both weighed an estimated 50 kg.
Come launch day in 2023, the PhilSA will take charge of completion, blast off, and subsequent operation control.
Aiding in the satellite’s creation is British small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) whose TrueColor earth-observation satellite served as the design inspiration for Mula, outclassing Diwata-2’s camera quality.
SSTL and the DOST-ASTI penned an 11 million British pound sterling (GBP) (equal to almost PHP 746 million) for the country to receive its cut of data from the developer’s NovaSAR-1 satellite’s services.
Once it enters the vastness of space, Mula will serve as the country’s newest astronaut, obtaining data for a myriad of important functions particularly for disaster preparedness and damage assessment, as well as natural resources management.
Air and sea vehicle tracking and detection will also be part of Mula’s monitoring duties thanks to its Automatic Identification System and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast.
ASP project leader and PhilSA deputy director Gay Jane Perez spoke of the benefits of Mula’s advanced imaging technology:
“With its capability to capture higher-resolution images, we will be able to better monitor terrestrial ecosystems, as well as our land and marine resources to ensure both agricultural productivity and environmental integrity” Perez stated.
Apart from Diwata-1 and Diwata-2, two cube satellites called Maya-1 and Maya-2 were previously launched.
The third to sixth versions of the Maya cube satellites are slated for future development, and with Mula’s progress underway, the country takes further steps towards the goal of becoming “a pace-capable and space-faring nation in the next decade”.
PHOTO: SSTL VIA PHILSA