Maya-5 and Maya-6 CubeSats launched to International Space Station
Posted by: STAMINA4Space Program
The Philippines’ next batch of locally developed cube satellites (CubeSats) Maya-5 and Maya-6 were successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on 05 June 2023 at around 11:47 PM PST. Maya-5 and Maya-6 are aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 as part of SpaceX’s 28th commercial resupply mission. The CubeSats, weighing approximately 1.15 kilograms each, will move along an orbit similar to the space station’s at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers once they are released into space.
The Maya-5 and Maya-6 CubeSats were built under the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) project of the STAMINA4Space Program, which is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and is implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). The nanosatellite track under the Master of Science (MS) or Master of Engineering (MEng) program of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (EEEI) of UPD is also implemented in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan and with scholarship support from DOST-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).
Maya-5 and Maya-6 are the second set of Philippine university-built CubeSats and, similar to its predecessors, provide local opportunities to acquire space technology know-how and hands-on experience in satellite development. It is also geared towards increased utilization of domestic capabilities by transitioning to locally available components, fabricated boards, and manufactured structural frames.
How are Maya-5 and Maya-6 different from or similar to its predecessors?
The Maya-5 and Maya-6 CubeSats are a technology demonstration and educational platform developed for remote data collection through Store-and-Forward (S&F) Mechanism, similar to its predecessor from Kyutech’s 4th Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite (BIRDS-4) Project, Maya-2, which was decommissioned on 5 July 2022. The Cubesats share the same bus but differ in mission payload. Maya-5 has the same mission payload as that of Maya-2, and Maya-6 has the experimental on-board computer (OBC-EX) mission payload, which controls the attitude determination and control system (ADCS) and hentenna (HNT) missions.
This milestone is the 6th successful launch to space of satellites that are made through the collaboration of the Philippines and Japan — including Diwata-1 and Diwata-2. The CubeSats are another addition to the roster of nanosatellites developed and sent to space by our country. Here are the CubeSats’ predecessors with their respective launch and mission end date:
- Maya-1: Launched June 29, 2018; Ended Mission November 23, 2020
- Maya-2: Launched February 21, 2021; Ended Mission July 5, 2022
- Maya-3 and Maya-4: Launched August 29, 2021; Ended Mission August 4, 2022
STAMINA4Space Program Leader Dr. Maricor Soriano also shared the importance of sustainability in terms of space science and technology development. “Building our own CubeSats and innovating together with local companies should pave the way for a space tech industry base. It is up to all three entities, government, academe and industry, to collectively sustain this,” she said.
STeP-UP Project Leader Engr. Paul Jason Co also added that “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”.
DOST-ASTI Director Dr. Franz De Leon also reiterated that “with the experience and knowledge that our scholars, scientists, and researchers have gained, we will develop new power generation, which will bring in many more space technological breakthroughs not only to the country, but soon to the world.”
“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 is not a one and done deal,” Engr. Co added.
Once Maya-5 and Maya-6 are deployed, they will be operated through Philippine Universities Ground Archiving and Data Reception (PUGAD) station in UPD.
“UPD and EEEI will continue furthering our local SSTA capabilities. We also recognize the hard work that the scholars have put in despite challenges during the pandemic. We are optimistic that your efforts will spur and encourage others to take the same path,” said Engr. Co as he discussed the future plans of the University.
Dr. De Leon brought up the value of inclusivity in terms of SSTA. “To fully realize the benefits of space technology, it is essential to equip our researchers and scientists on how to process and utilize these satellite assets effectively. DOST has always advocated for inclusive science, technology, and innovations or STI driven by the needs of the communities — and we will continue to do so by supporting projects, services, activities, and endeavors using emerging technologies for space science technology and innovation,” he said.
The next nanosatellite, Maya-7, is a 2U CubeSat currently being developed through PhilSA’s Advancing Core Competencies and Expertise in Space Studies Nanosat Project (ACCESS Nanosat). ACCESS Nanosat kicked off in September 2022 and provides the opportunity for Filipinos to pursue a master’s degree with specialized courses in satellite engineering at the EEEI. In this project, a team of select students and researchers are in the process of designing and developing the Maya-7 CubeSat.
The ACCESS Nanosat team is also in close collaboration with the winners of the Nanosat Mission Idea Contest (NMIC), who are developing their proposed mission payloads that will be subsequently integrated into Maya-7.
As a final message, Dr. Marciano said, “I salute the STAMINA4Space Program and, in particular, the STeP-UP Project, for yet another milestone in Philippine space. We acknowledge and thank the DOST for supporting the program. PhilSA strives to build forward on your accomplishments.”
Details about Maya-5 and Maya-6’s deployment from the ISS will be released in the coming weeks.
The Department of Science and Technology through the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) has always been at the forefront of space science and technology in the country, and now the agency complements the space science R&D of the Philippine Space Agency.
With the development of Diwata-1 and 2, as well as the Maya satellites from one to four, and now we have Maya-5 and Maya-6 developed by Batch 2 of STeP-UP Scholars, we have again broadened, and will continue to broaden our capabilities in space, this way, we can better serve our society and communities in ways that we can scarcely imagine. With the experience and knowledge that our scholars, scientists, and researchers have gained, we will develop new power generation that will bring in many more space technological breakthroughs not only to the country, but soon to the world.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://asti.dost.gov.ph/
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DOSTASTI