The Philippines’ second cube satellite (cubesat), Maya 2, was released to space from the International Space Station (ISS) recently.
This followed its launch to the space station aboard a Cygnus NG-15 rocket (S.S. Katherine Johnson) on February 21 together with cubesats Tsuru of Japan and GuaraniSat-1 of Paraguay, said a news release from Stamina4Space.
The three nanosatellites were designed and developed under the Fourth Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite (Birds-4) Project of the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan.
Their primary purpose is technology demonstration, from which the learnings will be used as an educational platform.
The three Filipino engineers who made Maya-2 were sent to Kyutech by the Department of Science and Technology’s Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) to pursue doctoral degrees as part of a scholarship program in cooperation with the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) Project of the Stamina4Space Program.
The Filipino engineers are Mark Angelo Cabrera Purio; Izrael Zenar Bautista, who is also the Birds-4 project manager; and Marloun Sejera.
Like its predecessor Maya-1, that was decommissioned on November 23, 2020, Maya-2 can remotely collect data using a Store-and-Forward (S&F) mechanism and capture images and videos using an on-board camera.
Its 1.3 kg frame is also equipped with an Automatic Packet Reporting System Message Digipeater (APRS-DP), attitude determination and control units for active attitude stabilization and control demonstrations, Perovskite solar cells and a Latchup-detection chip.
What’s next for Maya-2 in space?
“Right now we hope to execute all our missions with the help of other Birds ground stations around the world so that we could utilize the satellites to their full extent,” said Bautista.
For his part, Sejera said that the team is now preparing for the operations, which includes satellite health monitoring and mission execution.
With Maya-2 being the Philippines’ fourth successful attempt to send a small satellite to space—the other two are Diwata-1 and Diwata-2—in collaboration with Japan, this new milestone continues to nurture the longstanding partnership between the two nations.
“As the principal investigator of the Birds program, I am very happy to see Maya-2 deployed from the ISS,” said Birds Project Principal Investigator Dr. Mengu Cho.
Cho highlighted the Birds Project’s goal to foster human resources to initiate indigenous space programs in nonspace faring countries.
“After seeing the infant space programs in many countries, I can say that the Philippines is one of the best examples of a success story,” Cho said.
“For Maya-2, three students from the Philippines are engaged and play key roles in the entire Birds-4 project. I am sure that they can be an important asset to the future Philippine space program. So far, I have supervised five Philippine students under the Birds program and have been always satisfied with their talents and sincereness to study,” Cho added.
Kyutech Assistant Prof. George Maeda shared the same sentiments.
“Of all the Birds partners, none is more serious about developing in-country ‘human resources’ than the Philippines. Before you can make a spacecraft, you have to train engineers who know how to make them. The point is understood in your country,” Maeda said.
He added, “One more thing that is immensely impressive, you have propagated more capacity building through Birds-2S and Birds-4S [locally developed cubesats under the nanosatellite engineering track in EEEI UPD, or the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute at the University of the Philippines Diliman.]”
This means, he pointed out, “the ‘Birds concept’ is replicated inside of the Philippines. The fruit of knowledge acquired at Kyutech is taken to the Philippines and then applied to help others.»
This “’multiplication of knowledge’” is precisely what we want to occur. This is what education is all about. It means to spread knowledge. Replace darkness with light on a broad scale,” Maeda pointed out.
Bring knowledge to PHL
After the scholars complete their studies, they have their eyes set on bringing to the Philippines the knowledge they gained in Japan.
“[My] plan is to return to our respective institutions and carry out knowledge transfer to aspiring students in the field of science and technology,” said Sejera.
Purio agreed, saying that he also plans to return to his alma mater, Adamson University, to impart what he learned in Japan and support government projects related to this endeavor.
“Furthermore, I envision setting up our own ground station in the university to continue our efforts to support space-related activities while involving our students by providing them hands-on training,” Purio said.
As for Bautista, he hopes to contribute to the growing space industry back home.
“Maybe [I will contribute] to the Philippine Space Agency or to the academe so I could share the things I learned in Kyutech and apply it for the future satellites that our country will build. A startup relating to satellites or my research is also one that I’m looking into,” he said.
He also plans to continue what he has learned in Japan in the research in Perovskite solar cells to satellite systems engineering, to help provide meaningful output for the Philippines.
For Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, “the successful launching of Maya-2 makes me feel proud.”
“The accomplishment made possible by our young researchers and engineers should make us confident that we can do more in the area of space technology. I have high hopes that we, as a people, will be able to benefit more from developments in this area—all toward making the quality of life of our people better,” de la Peña said
The Philippines is set to send more satellites to space in the near future—with Maya-3, Maya-4, Maya-5 and Maya-6 already in their respective development and testing phases.
For her part, DOST-SEI Director Dr. Josette T. Biyo said the investment made in these scholarships “are well worth it.”
“We are ecstatic over Maya-2’s successful deployment to space and incredibly proud of the DOST-SEI STeP-UP scholar-engineers behind it,” Biyo said.
“They exemplify the perseverance of Filipinos and the brilliance of our science scholars. Maya-2 proves that the country’s space program and science scholarships are investments worthy of people’s support,” Biyo added.
Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Director General Dr. Joel Marciano Jr. said: “Just as how computers on Earth have helped to improve our lives, satellites like Maya-2 are ‘computers in orbit’ that work for us from space.”
“With the release of Maya-2 from the ISS, the genius words of Mark Weiser, father of ubiquitous computing, resonate with renewed meaning and inspiration: ‘The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” Like Diwata-1, Maya-1 and Diwata-2 before it, Maya-2 now ‘blends’ into the background to serve and perform its mission. Godspeed, Maya-2!”
Image credits: JAXA livestream
This Article firstly Publish on businessmirror.com.ph