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2 UP students to be first Filipinos to receive Japan's space tech scholarship

By AYIE LICSI Published Dec 15, 2022 5:12 pm

Two students from the University of the Philippines have been named the first Filipino recipients of a scholarship in Japan for space technology.

John Paul Almonte and Charleston Dale Ambali received scholarships from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Network for Utilization of Space Technology (JJ-NeST). They were recently invited to JAXA to present their current research works.

Almonte, 27, is taking up his masters in Electrical and Space Systems Engineering at Kyushu Institute of Technology until 2023. Meanwhile, Ambatali, 27, is studying in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Engineering until 2024 for his doctorate.

Almonte's research tackles developing a tracking system for ground sensor terminals used in satellite store-and-forward networks for remote data collection. These networks are used in different industries such as environmental monitoring, emergency communications, and telemedicine.

On the other hand, Ambatali is working on a space-based solar power station that collects power from the sun and sends it back to earth as a stable source of renewable energy. 

"My knowledge of space technology development broadened in three aspects: the ground operations, development of space systems, and the policy that sustains them," Ambatali said in a press release. "Once I finish the program and return, I aim to spearhead projects that will promote a better quality of life for the Filipino."

Almonte, for his part, said that the JICA scholarship provided him "with the opportunity to work on multiple satellite projects that deepened by knowledge of the entire satellite development process, from mission definition to launch and operations."

The program is part of JICA's plans to develop space technology in the Philippines as it is a "relatively new area" that has been showing "plenty of promise," the agency said.  

Its human resource development program in the Philippines, according to JICA Philippines chief representative Sakamoto Takema, is designed "to address long-term sustainability and impact," especially in space technology.

"Hopefully, more young Filipinos will be encouraged to study space technology, and work with Japan," Sakamoto added.