PH’s Maya cube satellites to be released to space

Published October 5, 2021, 11:30 AM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

The completed Maya-3 and Maya-4 Flight Models (FM). Maya-3 and Maya-4 are 1U (10 x 10 x 10 cm) CubeSats weighing ~1.15 kilograms each. (Photo from STAMINA4Space)

The Philippines continues to make its mark in space as the country’s two cube satellites are scheduled to be deployed into space on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

The Maya 3 and 4, the country’s first university-built satellites developed by Filipino engineers and scientists, will be released from the International Space Station (ISS) at 5:15 p.m. (Manila time).

“Once the CubeSats are released from the ISS, the ground team will be able to prepare for its operations,” the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) said.

Filipino-made satellites

The Mayas mark a milestone in the Philippine satellite development, being the first batch of university-built satellites, developed under the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation, and Advancement (STAMINA4Space).

Batch 1 of STeP-UP scholars with the Maya-3 and Maya-4 Flight Models. (Photo from STAMINA4Space)

Eight scholars under the STAMINA4Space Program’s Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) developed the cube satellites.

They are Derick Canceran, Judiel Reyes, Christy Raterta, Gladys Bajaro, Marielle Magbanua-Gregorio, Lorilyn Daquioag, Bryan Custodio, and Renzo Wee.

The STeP-UP Project is a graduate program with a nano-satellite engineering track housed within the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UP) Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute.

Funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the project is implemented by the UP Diliman in partnership with the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan.

Batch 1 of STeP-UP scholars during the CubeSats’ testing phase in Kyutech. L-R: Derick Canceran, Judiel Reyes, Christy Raterta, Gladys Bajaro, Marielle Magbanua-Gregorio, Lorilyn Daquioag, Bryan Custodio, and Renzo Wee. (Photo from STAMINA4Space)

Boosting PH’s space initiatives, activities

“The success of Maya-3 and Maya-4 will prove that CubeSats can be successfully built locally,” said STeP-UP Project Leader, Prof. Paul Jason Co said following the launch of the Mayas to the ISS on Aug. 29.

“The knowledge and experience gained from this endeavor can and will be shared to any other institutions through collaboration and cooperation,” he added.

Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying cube satellites Maya-3 and Maya-4 to the International Space Station (Photo via NASA Live stream / STAMINA4Space)

According to the STAMINA4Space, the cubesats provide opportunities to learn space technology know-how, and hands-on experience in satellite development that would further the country’s space initiatives and activities.

The cubesats’ payloads were developed to test technologies that can later on be used to provide data that may be used in agriculture, environment and natural resources, and disaster risk reduction and management, among others.

“These CubeSats can also be used to demonstrate technologies such as data collection systems that work with ground-based sensors and radios that serve the amateur radio community and emergency response teams,” it added.