The Virtual Reality Simulation (VRS) app of the Philippines’ satellites and three Ground Receiving Stations (GRS) that process images filmed from outer space has been released by the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ASTI).
The ASTI VRS free-to-download application on Google PlayStore launched on August 25, 2021, features a satellite showcase where users can learn about the Filipino-made Diwata and Maya satellites as well as the different commercial satellites available through the Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Center.
The PEDRO Center is the hub of the Ground Receiving Stations, managing the reception, processing, and distribution of satellite images and other spaceborne data to the public. The PEDRO Center also played host to the finer space infrastructure of the country, attracting experts and novices alike to a tour of the facilities.
The Android mobile app allows users to explore the comprehensive computer-generated simulation of the ASTI-GRS in Metro Manila, the Davao GRS in Davao City, and the Iloilo GRS in Iloilo:
- The first GRS, located in the ASTI Building in Diliman, Quezon City, was established in 2016 and houses a 3.7-meter earth observation (EO) satellite tracking antenna
- The second GRS, established in 2018 and inaugurated in 2019, is located in Davao City that houses a 7.3-meter EO satellite tracking antenna
- The third GRS in Iloilo City is still under construction and houses a 3.5-meter EO satellite tracking antenna
The ASTI VRS Application was made through Unity, a game development platform by Unity Technologies while its 3D models were made through Sketchup and open-source software for 3D modeling, Blender.
The VRS tour is part of efforts to make the public more aware of the progress of the Philippines’ space technology. “This is our creative attempt to bring space closer to the Filipinos,” DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said at the launch. “We hope that this would help raise public awareness and inspire everyone, especially the youth to take interest and grow an appreciation for space science research,” the DOST chief added.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the PEDRO Center welcomed the public to a tour of the facilities but the service has since been discontinued. The creation of the ASTI VRS App aims to continue and bring the GRS experience to the public.
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