First PH cube satellite, Maya-1, to be launched in space in July

By Aldwin Quitasol

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has announced that the country’s first cube satellite (CubeSat), named Maya-1, will be launched into space on July this year.

The Philippine representatives of the BIRDS-2 project (left) and the Maya-1 (right)

The DOST, through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research (PCIEETRD), described the impending launch of the Maya-1 as another milestone for the country’s ambitious space program.

The project is being implemented under the PHL-Microsat Program of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in cooperation with the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the DOST and the Kyushu Institute of Technology.

The Maya-1 CubeSat has been turned over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for preparation of its launch. Like the country’s first micro-satellite Diwata-1, JAXA will also bring Maya-1 into space.

The development of the Maya-1 falls under BIRDS-2 (Birds Satellite Project), a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project that accommodates non-space faring countries.

The project consists of 11 participating team members from four different countries – two of whom are from the Philippines. They are Kyushu Institute of Technology students Joven Javier and Adrian Salces.

Javier, a Master of Engineering student, is in charge in the monitoring of the development of the project. He is the team leader for the whole BIRDS-2 supervising the project cycle and in ensuring that the whole process is running smoothly as planned.

Meanwhile, Salces, who is a PhD in engineering student, is in charge of the communication subsystem of the satellite. He oversees the establishment and operation of a ground station network, demonstration of the data collection system consisting of the CubeSat constellation, and the identification of all technical challenges of the system.

Maya-1, according to the PCIEETRD, is set to take images of the earth using on-board cameras, broadcast signals from various satellites and determine their locations, measure atmospheric density through orbital analysis, help operate a ground station network for CubeSat constellation — an application that will allow for easier telecommunication, and measure single-event-latch ups in orbit.

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