The Philippines first “high-power hybrid rocket” made from 3D-printed advanced composite materials is set to be launched into space in 2023 which was announced on Friday, December. 9 by the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA)
The hybrid rocket “TALA” was built by the collaborations of researchers, students, and mentors from St. Cecilia’s College-Cebu in 2018. It was initially set to be launched last March 2020 from Mati City Airport in Davao Oriental but was indefinitely postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to PhilSA, TALA measured 10 feet and weighs 15 kilograms.
The Young Innovators Program of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development funded the creation of TALA to develop a low-cost yet high-performance rocket suitable for space deployment.
Since early 2022, PhilSA has been working closely with the TALA team and the Philippine Air Force Research and Development Center for the upcoming launch of the hybrid rocket in Colonel Ernesto Rabina Airbase in Tarlac City next year.
TALA rocketry team mentor Wilfredo Pardorla, Jr. in an interview with PhilSA. thanked PhilSA, PAF, and DOST-PCIEERD for “Supporting our intent to contribute to the advancement of our local space research environment. Through demonstrating our knowledge and capability in rocket development, we hope to inspire more local research and development efforts that will benefit the advancement of our local space education and industry,”
TALA team mentor Almida Plarisan said that some of the features of TALA are “flight sensors, a GPS, a dual parachute deployment, and a payload system to bring a Can Satellite (CanSat) up to approximately 5 kilometers into the atmosphere.
Plarisan explained that the CanSat is a soda can-sized simulated satellite that is capable to collect environmental data through built-in sensors.
“Researchers in the country deploy CanSats through drones. Sending CanSats to higher altitudes via hybrid-propellant rockets is a cost-effective way to further enrich space R&D in the country,” she added.
PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. meanwhile expressed his full support for the initiative.
“We are proud of the young innovators of St. Cecilia’s College Cebu who built the TALA rocket, and are truly inspired by their hard work and initiative,” he said.
“PhilSA is quite fortunate to have an opportunity to support its launch, as this is a milestone that will certainly yield important learnings. We hope that this will also motivate other young Filipinos to pursue their own space endeavors and journeys in scientific discovery, just as it motivates us to heighten our efforts in promoting and expanding homegrown space capabilities,” he added.