The Philippines' Latest Locally Developed Cube Satellites Have Been Launched Into Space
The Philippines' newest batch of locally developed cube satellites (CubeSats) was successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this week, marking the sixth successful launch of satellites through the collaboration of the Philippines and Japan.
On June 5, 2023, the Maya-5 and Maya-6 were sent aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 as part of SpaceX’s 28th commercial resupply mission. They are only the second set of Filipino university-built CubeSats. The batch follows the likes of Diwata-1 and Diwata-2.
These are the latest addition to the roster of nanosatellites developed and sent to space by the Philippines. Weighing approximately 1.15 kilograms each, the CubeSats will move along an orbit at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers once released.
Onwards to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9.
The Maya-5 and Maya-6 are demonstrations of what the future of the Philippines' space technology could be.
The CubeSats were built under the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) project of the STAMINA4Space Program. Funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the project is a culmination of the efforts of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI).
“Building our own CubeSats and innovating together with local companies should pave the way for a space tech industry base," STAMINA4Space Program Leader Dr. Maricor Soriano said in a statement. "It is up to all three entities, government, academe, and industry, to collectively sustain this."
Development of such space technology is part of the course requirements of the UP Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute's nanosatellite engineering track. The Maya-1, Maya-2, Maya-3, and Maya-4 had been launched in 2018 and 2021, respectively.
This latest batch of CubeSats was developed for remote data collection, similar to its predecessor from Kyutech’s 4th Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite (BIRDS-4) Project. Our locally developed pieces share the same bus but differ in mission payload.
“Such a milestone would not have been possible without the continued support from DOST and DOST-SEI, whose commitment to furthering our country’s SSTA capability has accelerated our country’s homegrown space scientists and engineers," said STeP-UP Project Leader Engineer Paul Jason Co.
The members of the team behind the project are Anna Ruth Alvarez, Joseph Jonathan Co, Ronald Collamar, Angela Clarisse Chua, Chandler Timm Doloriel, Khazmir Camille Valerie Macaraeg, Genesis Remocaldo, and Gio Asher Tagabi.
He added: “This milestone marks the second time that our country has sent CubeSats that were locally developed into space. This shows beyond doubt that our country’s efforts to have a place in space are not a one-and-done deal."
Once Maya-5 and Maya-6 are deployed, these will be operated through Philippine Universities Ground Archiving and Data Reception, or PUGAD, Station at UP. Next up is the Maya-7 CubeSat, which is already in the development process. It will be a 2U CubeSat that will be made with help from the Philippine Space Agency's Advancing Core Competencies and Expertise in Space Studies Nanosat Project.