PAGASA has achieved another milestone in remote sensing history last March 23 when its satellite ground station in Quezon City started receiving data from the COMS satellite.
COMS, short for Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite, is Korea's first geostationary multi-purpose satellite. The COMS satellite has three primary missions as shown in its name. In its meteorological mission, it provides continuous imagery of the Earth, early detection of severe weather phenomena and monitoring the change in climate and the atmosphere. Its maritime mission provides monitoring of the marine environment and the marine ecology of the seas around the Korean peninsula. This is important to estimate chlorophyll production to provide an insight into health of fishery stocks. In addition, its communications mission provides broadband satellite multimedia testing services. Currently, it communicates using Korean Ka-band transponders.
This first reception from the COMS satellite is part of a joint project with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) aimed at improving the earth observation capabilities of PAGASA. The success of this initial reception provides the Filipino (PAGASA and EastAsia Solutions Technologies Corporation) and Korean (Soletop., Co. Ltd.) engineers and administrators with the confidence to proceed with the full implementation of the COMS satellite project where additional ground stations will be established to receive COMS data in the regional offices of PAGASA, as well as improved capability in typhoon tracking and forecasting.
In addition to the successful reception and processing of the satellite data, this pilot system is also the product of remarkable engineering ingenuity through the re-use of existing PAGASA equipment and facilities. The pilot system shows that with a few modifications, antennas for decommissioned satellites can find new purpose to receive data from new and modern satellites.
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