Maya-2, the Philippines’ second cube satellite, was successfully released into orbit by the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, March 14, along with Paraguay’s GuaraniSat-1 and Japan’s Tsuru.
Developed under Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology’s 4th Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite (BIRDS-4) Project, these cube satellites were launched on February 21 at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Station in Virginia, United States through the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus spacecraft at 1:36 AM PST.
Maya-2 was designed and built by Filipino scholars assisted 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, with funding support from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
“The successful launch of Maya-2 makes me feel proud. The accomplishment made possible by our young researchers and engineers should make us confident that we can do more in the area of space technology. I have high hopes that we, as a people, will be able to benefit more from developments in this area — all towards making the quality of life of our people better,” said DOST secretary Fortunato de la Peña.
Maya-2 engineers Izrael Zenar Bautista, Mark Angelo Purio, and Marloun Sejera confirmed that upon deployment of the CubeSat, they will immediately start carrying out the satellite’s missions.
At just 1.3 kg, Maya-2 has a camera that captures images and videos, 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 a Latchup-detection chip.
Gathered data from the demonstrated components will be used to evaluate these technologies for future space missions.
The CubeSat can collect data remotely through a store-and-forward mechanism and gather data for applications such as weather and infectious disease analysis through ground sensors. Maya-2 was developed and improved using the knowledge gained from developing its predecessor.
The DOST and STAMINA4Space Program said it is looking forward to the continued expansion of the Philippines’ capabilities and innovations in the space technology applications sector with the development of more Filipino-made satellites. The agencies are targeting to launch Maya-3 and Maya-4 within 2021.
As the monitoring agency of the STAMINA4Space Program, DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) said it is optimistic that the space tech initiatives will bring positive change to the country.