International Day of Human Space FlightMankind’s knack for pushing their limits has always given way to advancements in science and technology. Just was the case 54 years ago today, April 12, when Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, aboard the Vostok 1 rocket, became the first human to go to space and orbit the earth.

Such a momentous event sparked the beginning of the space era for humankind to explore and learn about outer space and other heavenly bodies. The scientists back on earth were keenly monitoring and communicating with Gagarin throughout the launch, wherein the cosmonaut described the feeling of weightlessness as well as giving updates on his historic 108-minute orbital flight.

Gagarin to Ground Control

It is worth noting that from a communications standpoint, Gagarin’s excursion in space serves as a landmark in communications technology – the command center successfully used radio waves to transmit and relay orders, and confer with Gagarin during his flight; on the media side, news spread around the world via the radio and television. A number of decades later, communications have seen great progress when it comes to getting in touch with another person from anywhere in the world. For instance, the Internet has made it possible for people to access a wealth of information, as well as keep in touch with the latest news that’s happening locally or abroad. The TV White Space (TVWS) Project that of the DOST-ICTO will soon implement aims to continue the technological progress by using unused TV and radio frequencies as a conduit for underdeveloped towns and barrios to have access to the Internet.

Consistent Connectivity

Unlike traditional Wi-Fi, using TVWS to gain access to the Internet is beneficial for a country with a unique geographical setting such as the Philippines. Being an archipelago can proves to be quite a hindrance to in establishing an internet hotspot as contemporary Wi-Fi technology available can only provides in small coverage areas. Conversely, accessing the internet via TVWS covers a wider range, is easier and more cost-effective to use, and is more reliable during inclement weather -– TVWS was used for communication between rescue and relief workers and agencies during the Yolanda relief effort  in Tacloban.

Along with its partners from USAID, Microsoft, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the DOST-ICTO utilized TVWS technology in successfully assisting local governments in Talibon, Bohol, to register fisherfolk and provide critical basic services, all to make the processes more convenient for both the townspeople and the government agents.

The DOST-ICTO believes that using TVWS as a suitable alternative to conventional Wi-Fi can help remote towns, barangays, and cities have access to valuable and timely information at their disposal, as evidenced during the successful online registration of the fisherfolk in Bohol. Through the aid of public backing and favorable policies, government bodies from far-flung towns and cities can provide their residents the capability to connect to the Internet and make the sharing, storing, and disseminating of vital information easier.

If you’d like to know more about the TVWS Project, you can visit the ICTO website at http://www.icto.dost.gov.ph/ or Tech4ED’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/Tech4EDCenters) .

Sources:

  • http://www.esa.int/About_Us/Welcome_to_ESA/ESA_history/50_years_of_humans_in_space/The_flight_of_Vostok_1
  • http://yurigagarin50.org/history/gagarins-flight