PH’s first university-built cube satellites to be launched to Int'l Space Station Aug. 28

Published August 28, 2021, 12:00 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Philippines continues to mark its place in space.

(STAMINA4Space Facebook Page)

The country’s third and fourth nanosatellites, Maya-3 and Maya-4, will be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s Dragon C208 on Saturday, Aug. 28, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced Friday, Aug. 27.

The DOST said the launch of the cube satellites is set on Saturday at 3:37 p.m. (Philippine time), more than five months after Maya 2, the Philippines’ fourth satellite and second nanosatellite, was successfully deployed into orbit from the ISS.

“The launch is part of the SpaceX Commercial Resupply Mission-23 (SpX-23),” it wrote on Facebook on Friday, citing the STAMINA4Space.

The 23rd SpaceX cargo resupply mission will be carrying scientific research and technology demonstrations to the ISS, it noted.

Maya-3 and Maya-4 are the first Philippine-university built cube satellites, the STAMINA4Space said.

It said the cube satellites were designed and developed by the first batch of scholars under the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation, and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program: Project 3 – Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP), funded and supported by the DOST with scholarship grants from its Science Education Institute (SEI).

Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) scholars. (Top row, left to right) Renzo Wee, Christy Raterta, Lorilyn Dacquioag, Derick Canceran, (bottom row, left to right) Judiel Reyes, Gladys Bajaro, Marielle Magbanua-Gregorio, Bryan Custodio (Photo from STAMINA4Space Facebook Page)

The STeP-UP Project is implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan, it said.

STAMINA4Space Program’s STeP-UP Project is a graduate program with a nanosatellite engineering track housed within the UPD Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute.

“Maya-3 and Maya-4 were developed under STAMINA4Space through the support of DOST Philippines, UP Diliman, Kyushu Institute of Technology, DOST-Science Education Institute, DOST PCIEERD (Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development), DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), and with the support of the Philippine Space Agency,” the STAMINA4Space said in a Facebook post on Friday.

The STAMINA4Space is the country’s space research and development program funded by the DOST and implemented by DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) and the University of the Philippines (UP). The program aims to further develop deep expertise that enable and sustain the growth of a local scientific-industrial base in space technology and applications in the Philippines.

It succeeded the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) program, the country’s first initiative in developing the country’s capacity in space science and technology.

During its four-year implementation, the program successfully launched two microsatellites: Diwata-1 and Diwata-2; and a nanosatellite, Maya-1.

In March this year, DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said cube nanosatellites Maya-3 and Maya-4 were in the process of development and were expected to be launched this year.

The Philippines’ fourth satellite and second nanosatellite, Maya-2, was successfully deployed into orbit from the ISS on March 14, 2021 at 7:20 p.m. (local time).