MANILA, Philippines — Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña yesterday announced the launch of the Philippines’ second cube satellite Maya-2 into the International Space Station (ISS) through the space supply ship S.S. Katherine Johnson, which took off from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Wallops Island flight facility in Virginia at 1:36 a.m. (Philippine Standard Time) on Saturday.
The launch of the Maya-2 CubeSat, developed by three Filipino engineering post-graduate students – Izrael Zenar Bautista, Mark Angelo Purio and Marloun Sejera – marks another historic milestone for the Philippines in the field of space science, according to Dela Peña.
Bautista, Purio, and Sejera are currently pursuing doctorate degrees in Space Systems Engineering and Space Engineering at Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech), which is spearheading and hosting the Joint Global Multi-Nation BIRDS-4 Satellite Project, a cross-border interdisciplinary CubeSat development project involving the Philippines, Paraguay and Japan.
Sending the satellite into the ISS is the final step before the satellite reaches its targeted altitude in low Earth orbit, from which it will be launched into space orbit at a date to be determined later on, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said.
The Maya-2 development project was implemented 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 of the DOST.
The STAMINA4Space is funded by the DOST’s Philippine Council for Innovation, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, and implemented by DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute and the University of the Philippines Diliman.
Secretary Joel Joseph Marciano Jr., Philippine Space Agency director general, hailed the successful launch of Maya-2.
“To do something for the first time is great, but to be able to do it again and innovate is greater. We take pride in the launch of Maya-2, the successor to Maya-1 and the Philippines’ latest milestone in creating value in space for and from Filipinos and for the world,” Marciano said in a statement issued yesterday.
The launch of Maya-2 came after the decommissioning of Maya-1 – the first ever Filipino-designed-and-developed CubeSat – last Nov. 23. Maya-1 was launched into space in June 2018.
Both Maya-1 and Maya-2 are satellite technology demonstration and educational platforms geared toward collecting data remotely by Store-and-Forward Mechanism.