Maya-2, PH’s second nanosatellite to be launched into space on Feb. 21

Published February 20, 2021, 9:23 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Philippines will again mark its place in space. 

On Feb. 21, Sunday, at 1:36 a.m. (Philippine time) , the country’s second nanosatellite, Maya-2 will be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus spacecraft.


“The cube satellite (CubeSat) Maya-2 from the Philippines together with other cube satellites from Japan and Paraguay will be launched into space aboard the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus spacecraft on February 21, 2021 at 1:36 A.M. PHT (Philippine Time),” Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña announced during his weekly report on Friday, Feb.19. 

The launch of Maya-2 will take place, less than three years after the country’s first nanosatellite, Maya-1 was launched into space.

The Philippines’ Maya-2, Japan’s Tsuru and Paraguay’s GuaraniSat-1 are  cube satellites under the fourth Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite project  or BIRDS-4 Project, a global small satellite development project under a strategic partnership pact between the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) and the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The satellites will be launched to the ISS from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A at NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Wallops Flight Facility aboard the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus spacecraft, Stamina4Space said in a Facebook post.

“This is part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation’s 15th commercial resupply services mission, which will be delivering cargo to the ISS,” it said. 

Professor Paul Jayson Co, project leader of the STAMINA4Space Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP), confirmed the launch of Maya-2 to the ISS on Feb. 21. 

Co said Maya 2 was already turned over to JAXA for launch on Feb. 21. 

It was developed by three DOST scholars while pursuing their doctoral degree programs in Space Engineering in Kyutech in Japan. 

They are Izrael Zenar “IZ” Bautista, who is the BIRDS-4 project manager;  Marloun Sejera,  and Mark Angelo Purio.

Co noted this year, the country is expected to launch three nanosatellites. Aside from Maya-2,  Maya-3 and Maya-4 will also be launched. 

A research overview posted on the website of United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) said approximately one year was spent developing BIRDS-4 satellites, one for each country. 

The developed 1U sized CubeSat have dimensions 10cm × 10cm × 10cm, it said. 

“The satellites use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components to verify proper function in space. The information gathered from BIRDS-4 forms the basis for usage of these COTS components for future space missions,” it said. 

“The satellites also carry a store-and-forward payload which can be used to gather data from ground sensors for weather and infectious disease analysis,” it added.

Based on the briefer, the satellites also demonstrate a new type of solar cell, the Perovskite solar cell, for its performance in space. “Gathered data is used to evaluate this technology for future space missions,” it said.