Two Philippine-made cube satellites, Maya 3 and Maya 4, were launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on August 29, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.
The scheduled launch on August 28 was postponed due to bad weather. It is part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) SpaceX Commercial Resupply Mission-23 (SpX-23). (Read: Meet the Fil-Am Engineer Who Helped Land the NASA Rover on Mars)
In a tweet, NASA said that SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon successfully arrived at the ISS on August 30 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time (10:30 p.m. Manila time), delivering “over 4,800 pounds of ISS Research equipment, supplies, and cargo to the crew.”
The first Philippine-made cube satellites
Maya 3 and Maya 4 are the first Philippine-made cube satellites designed and developed by scholars under the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) project of the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation, and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) program.
It is funded by the DOST and is implemented by the University of the Philippines- Diliman and DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). The project is also in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan with scholarship support from the DOST Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).
According to STAMINA4Space, each cube satellite weighs approximately 1.15 kilograms per unit with 10-centimeter cubic frames designed to demonstrate nanosatellite-based remote data collection systems and optical imaging. (Read: 5 Filipinos Who Made Names in NASA and Space-Related Fields)
The cube satellites were tested thoroughly to ensure that they can survive the launch and harsh space conditions. The team also performed space environment tests and analyzed the results. Various tests were sent to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for evaluation.
“The success of Maya 3 and Maya 4 will prove that CubeSats can be successfully built locally,” STeP-UP Project Leader, Prof. Paul Jason Co reiterated in a statement. “The knowledge and experience gained from this endeavor can and will be shared to any other institutions through collaboration and cooperation,” he added.
The missions and payloads of Maya 3 and Maya 4 were conceptualized to test and demonstrate technologies that can be used to provide data that may be used in a number of applications across various sectors such as agriculture, environment and natural resources, and disaster risk reduction and management.
The cube satellites are expected to demonstrate the image and video capture of an RGB camera and a near-infrared camera, a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) global positioning system (GPS) module, and magnetic field measurement in space. (Read: PH Team Wins NASA Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge)
Other missions include demonstration of Ground Data Acquisition using Store and Forward, commercial off-the-shelf Automatic Packet Reporting System Message Digipeater (APRS-DP) Payload Demonstration on cubesat, GPS Chip Demonstration, detection of and protection from Single Event Latch-up due to space radiation, Magnetic Field Measurement in Space using an Anisotropic, and Magnetoresistance Sensor.