PH’s second nanosatellite Maya-2 ‘successfully’ launched into space — DOST

Published February 21, 2021, 9:52 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The country’s second nanosatellite was “successfully launched” at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Station in Virginia, United States aboard the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus spacecraft early Sunday morning,  Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said Sunday, Feb. 21. 

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña (TOTO LOZANO / Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“The Philippines’ nanosatellite Maya 2 was successfully launched together with the nanosatellites of Japan and Paraguay at the NASA Station in Virginia, USA , through the SS Johnson, at 1:36 a.m. (Philippine Time) early today,” he told the Manila Bulletin in a Viber message. 

The Department of Science & Technology (DOST) is very proud of this achievement,” de la Peña said.

He noted that the nanosatellites, including Maya-2 “will be brought to the International Space Station (ISS) to be deployed into orbit at a later date.”  

“Since DOST started the Philippine Space Technology Development Program in 2014, we have already sent orbiting into space two  micro satellites Diwata-1 and Diwata-2, and nanosatellite Maya-1,” De la Peña said. 

He said Maya-2, the country’s fourth satellite,  “will soon be deployed from the ISS.”

He said DOST’s Advanced Science & Technology Institute (ASTI) and Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute,  Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology,  Department of Geodetic Engineering and the National Institute of Physics of the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD)   have been the implementors of such satellite development projects with the assistance from three Japanese universities–Hokkaido University, Tohoku University and Kyushu Institute of Technology.

“The succeeding microsatellites Diwata 3 and Diwata 4 and succeeding nanosatellites are now in various stages of development, now to be built substantially in the Philippines,” de la Peña said. 

He said the program will now transition into the leadership of the newly established Philippine Space Agency. 

“All of us should be proud of the fast progress that the Philippines has made in this area considering that we started only in 2014. There are many aspects of governance which will be assisted by space technologies. These are concrete achievements in making science serve our people,” De la Peña said. 

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 is set to 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. The launch of the cube satellites is part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation’s 15th commercial resupply services mission, which is delivering cargo to the ISS.

Maya-2 was designed and developed by three Filipino scholars– Izrael Zenar “IZ” Bautista, who is the BIRDS-4 project manager;  Marloun Sejera,  and Mark Angelo Purio.  They were sent to Kyutech through the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) Project of the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program. 

“To do something for the first time is great, but to be able to do it again and innovate is greater. We take pride in the launch of Maya-2, the successor to Maya-1 and the Philippines’ latest milestone in creating value in space for and from Filipinos and for the world,” Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Director General Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr. said in a separate statement. 

He extended felicitations to the BIRDS-4 Filipino engineers and the STAMINA4Space team for the successful launch of Maya-2, even as he expressed hope that the country’s space research and development activities will be sustained and built on.

“The PhilSA is building on your accomplishments to bridge, uplift, and empower our nation through space,” Marciano said. 

STAMINA4Space noted that  like its predecessor Maya-1, which was decommissioned on November 23, 2020,  Maya-2 is a technology demonstration and educational platform geared to collect data remotely by Store-and-Forward (S&F) Mechanism.

“Aboard the 1.3 kg satellite is a camera for image and video capture, an Automatic Packet Reporting System Message Digipeater (APRS-DP), attitude determination and control units for active attitude stabilization and control demonstrations, Perovskite solar cells and Latchup-detection chip,” it said in a statement.  

Apart from the similarity of the platforms, Maya-2 was developed and improved using the knowledge gained from developing its predecessor, it said.