The Philippines creates its first space agency

The agency will co-ordinate the country’s activities in space and develop technologies.

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the creation of a space agency for the Philippines.Credit: Andrew Harnik/Reuters

The Philippines is the latest country to create its own space agency. President Rodrigo Duterte has authorized the creation of Philippine Space Agency, following in the footsteps of Turkey and Australia, which have set up space agencies in the past 18 months.

The agency, signed into law on 8 August, will coordinate all the government’s space related activities and policy, which are currently spread across multiple agencies. Its goals include national security, hazard management and climate-change mitigation, as well as research and development in technologies such as satellites, growing the country’s private space industry and international collaborations.

“Back in 2013, it was still a dream for most of us in the field of space science, but we are very happy to see it finally come into fruition,” says Rogel Mari Sese, president of Regulus SpaceTech, a space consulting firm in Manila. Sese was formerly at the National Space Development Program, which helped to plan the space agency.

Sese says that the agency will do research in space technology, and support academic institutions that are doing research. In April 2016, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the first micro-satellite designed by scientists in the Philippines, called Diwata-1.

The Philippine agency will receive a starting budget of one billion pesos (US$19 million) from the Office of the President. Ongoing funding will come from the national budget and the Space Development Fund, which was also established under the new bill and will pay out yearly installments of two billion pesos for the next five years.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-02485-9

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