JUST IN: Philippines’ UP-made Maya cube satellites released to space orbit from ISS

Philippines Maya cube orbit from ISS
CubeSats space launch images from STAMINA4Space.

The Philippines’ Maya-3 and Maya-4 cube satellites (CubeSats) built at the University of the Philippines Diliman have just been released to space orbit from the International Space Station (ISS).

The Maya CubeSats were successfully deployed from the ISS on October 6, 2021, at 5:20 p.m. PST via Japan’s Japanese Experiment (JEM) or “Kibo” Laboratory Module. The deployment was seen in a live-streamed broadcast hosted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and shared with the public on the STAMINA4Space Program social media.

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The Philippines’ first university-built CubeSats will move along an orbit similar to the space station’s at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers.

Maya-3 and Maya-4 were previously launched to the ISS last August 29 aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s Dragon C208 as part of SpaceX Commercial Resupply Mission-23 (SpX-23).

Maya-3 and Maya-4 were designed and built by the first of two batches of scholars under the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) taking the nanosatellite development track under the Master of Science (MS)/Master of Engineering (MEng) program of the UPD Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (EEEI), namely, Renzo Wee, Christy Raterta, Lorilyn Daquioag, Derick Canceran, Judiel Reyes, Gladys Bajaro, Marielle Magbanua-Gregorio, and Bryan Custodio.

The Maya-3 and Maya-4 Flight Models. STAMINA4Space photo.

The development of the CubeSats is in collaboration with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan, with scholarship support from DOST-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).

“The team is extremely excited now that Maya-3 and Maya-4 are orbiting Earth in space. As the first Philippine university-built satellites, this event marks a significant milestone in our country’s space science and technology initiatives,” the scholars said.

UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo emphasized the value of the CubeSats. “This will help break down psychological barriers for many young and aspiring scientists. Space technology is no longer something we just read in books and see in movies. Space is no longer the exclusive territory of advanced, industrialized countries and superpowers. Space is something within our reach, especially with support from the government, and the public and our partners.”

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña gave the go signal for deployment on behalf of the country during the deployment ceremony.

“This is a very historic and important day because the world has witnessed the deployment of the Maya-3 and Maya-4 cube satellites from the International Space Station (ISS) to outer space. These two CubeSats are the first Philippine university-built cube satellites developed by Filipino scholars,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña during the program where he gave the go signal for deployment as the Philippines’ representative.

The country’s newest satellites follow the space deployment of their predecessor Maya-2 earlier this year and the return to the earth of Maya-1 after completing its mission in 2020.

Maya-1 and Maya-2 were built by Filipino space engineers who were scholars at the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan under the STAMINA4Space Program.

WATCH the Philippines’ UP-made Maya cube satellites’ release into space orbit from the International Space Station here and SEND CHEERS to the teams behind the historic feat for the country!

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Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.