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Maya-5 and Maya-6 Advancing Space Tech in the Philippines

Image credit: philsa.gov.ph

Maya-5 and Maya-6, two Philippines-developed cube satellites (CubeSats), were successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS). As part of SpaceX’s 28th commercial resupply mission, the CubeSats, each weighing approximately 1.15 kilogrammes, were transported aboard the Falcon 9 rocket. Once they are launched into space, they will orbit at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometres and follow a path like that of the space station.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) funded the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) project. The University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) oversaw the building of the Maya-5 and Maya-6 satellites. The Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan also worked on the project, and the DOST-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) helped with scholarships.

These CubeSats are the second set of satellites made by a university in the Philippines. Their goal is to give people in the country a chance to learn about space technology and get hands-on experience making satellites. The project focuses on using components, boards, and structure frames that are made in the United States.

Maya-5 and Maya-6 are used to show how technology works and teach people how to use the Store-and-Forward (S&F) Mechanism to receive data remotely. Maya-5 has a mission payload that is like that of its predecessor, Maya-2, while the Maya-6 has an experimental on-board computer (OBC-EX) that controls the attitude determination and control system (ADCS) and hentenna (HNT) tasks.

After Diwata-1 and Diwata-2, this launch is the sixth time that the Philippines and Japan have worked together to send a satellite into space. Maya-5 and Maya-6 are the latest nanosatellites built and launched by the Philippines. They join Maya-1, Maya-2, Maya-3, and Maya-4 on this list.

Once Maya-5 and Maya-6 are in place, they will be run from the UPD station for Philippine Universities Ground Archiving and Data Reception (PUGAD). In the future, the University wants to improve the area’s space science and technology and encourage other people to do the same.

The following nanosatellite, Maya-7, is presently being developed by PhilSA’s ACCESS Nanosat Project, which offers specialised satellite engineering courses at UPD. The ACCESS Nanosat team is collaborating closely with the Nanosat Mission Idea Contest (NMIC) recipients to integrate their proposed mission payloads into Maya-7.

The successful launch of the Maya-5 and Maya-6 CubeSats to the International Space Station is a significant achievement for the Philippines’ space exploration efforts. The collaboration between government, academia, and industry, as well as the support from various agencies, has been essential to advancing the nation’s space science and technology capabilities.

The development and launch of these CubeSats provide local opportunities for Filipinos to acquire space technology know-how and hands-on experience in satellite development, contributing to the growth of expertise in the field.

By emphasising the use of domestically available components, fabricated boards, and manufactured structural frames, the project promotes the utilisation of local capabilities, fostering self-reliance and reducing dependence on foreign technologies.

Also, Maya-5 and Maya-6 serve as educational platforms, enabling students and researchers to gain practical knowledge in satellite engineering and data collection through the Store-and-Forward mechanism.

Hence, the CubeSats facilitate technological innovation by integrating experimental payloads and systems, such as the experimental onboard computer and attitude control system, fostering advancements in space technology within the Philippines.

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