The first cubic satellites (cubesats) built by a university in the Philippines, Maya-3 and Maya-4, were released into space from the International Space Station (ISS) at 5:20 p.m. on October 6 PST via the Japanese experiment of Japan (JEM), or “Kibo” laboratory module, and are expected to begin operations soon.
On October 7, one day after its release, the Maya-3 and Maya-4 beacons “were successfully received and decoded” as they passed remotely at 9 am through the archive and receive station of data (Pugad) from Philippine universities at UP Diliman, the Space Mastery of Technology and Applications, Innovation and Advancement (Stamina4Space) said in its online press release.
The cubesats’ first contact was with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) just over an hour after its release, around 6:51 p.m. on October 6.
“A beacon is like the heartbeat of a satellite that lets the ground crew know that the satellite is alive and well in space. says the Stamina4Space.
The Maya-3 and Maya-4 cubesats are now moving along an orbit similar to that of the space station, which sits at an altitude of about 400 kilometers.
The deployment followed the launch of cubesats to the ISS on August 29 at 3:14 p.m. aboard the Dragon C208 of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the SpaceX-23 commercial resupply mission.
Maya-3 and Maya-4 were released from the ISS along with other cubesats from Australia, Biner-1 and Cuava-1, developed by Curtin University and the University of Sydney, respectively.
BusinessMirror has witnessed both the launch of cubesats to the ISS and deployment into space.
“Like a baby’s first cry”
With the cubesats already deployed in space, researchers from the Proliferation of Space Science and Technology through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) project that created them said they can now start testing their various functions.
Prior to the release, the team prepared the schedule of activities for the ground station operations, including the sequence of command uplinks for the cubesats.
The team will first monitor the status of the satellites by receiving and decoding their continuous wave beacons before sending out commands to be executed.
“His [going to be] like hearing a newborn baby’s first cry, ”STeP-UP researchers said.
The team also coordinated with various ground stations internationally and locally to help with satellite tracking.
Engineers will also record and evaluate satellite functionality and collect data during operations to assess their overall performance, which will serve as a benchmark for planning future satellite developments and related projects, the statement said.
“The team is extremely excited now that Maya-3 and Maya-4 are orbiting Earth in space. As the first satellites built by a Philippine university, this event marks an important milestone in our country’s space science and technology initiatives, ”they said.
It took the eight researchers two years of hard work to develop and test the satellite.
At the same time, while monitoring the operations of Maya-3 and Maya-4, STeP-UP researchers will continue its other projects: the Maya-5 and Maya-6 which are being developed by the second group of researchers. , said STeP -UP Project Manager Prof. Paul Jason Co.
“Sustainability can be ensured by ensuring that the knowledge acquired is shared with as many higher education institutions [higher education institutions]because it ensures that there will be more people with the knowledge to do the same, ”he said.
“Although launching cubesats would present funding challenges, knowledge about development can still be learned without it,” Co. added.
The Maya-3 and Maya-4 were developed as part of the STeP-UP project of the Stamina4Space program, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman and DOST-Advanced Science and Institute of Technology (DOST-ASTI).
Maya-3 and Maya-4 were built by the first of two groups of STeP-UP academics following the nanosatellite development path as part of the UPD Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute’s Master of Science / Master of Engineering program. .
The development of cubesats is in collaboration with Kyutech in Japan, with the support of scholarships from the DOST-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).
“This is a very historic and important day, as the world has witnessed the deployment of the Maya-3 and Maya-4 cube satellites since [ISS] to outer space. These two cubesats are the first cube satellites built by Philippine universities and developed by Filipino academics, ”Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said in his message during the deployment program organized by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ( Jaxa).
Stamina4Space program leader Dr Maricor Soriano also praised the team: “Building and operating something as complex as a satellite requires meticulous planning, rigorous system design and testing, and a lot of support. . Thus, we thank the [DOST] for the financing of our program, the [Jaxa], and [Kyutech] for the global joint multinational satellite project BIRDS, ”said Soriano.
“We look forward to gaining the confidence to innovate in this area to support our nascent Philippine Space Agency. [PhilSA],” she said.
In his post, PhilSA CEO Dr Joel Joseph Marciano Jr. said that in 2014, as they started developing technologies and applications for small satellites, as the Philippine Microsat program manager Program and its successor, the Stamina4Space, he saw in the Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite or the Birds Project of Kyutech, the spirit of community and cooperation which corresponded and complemented well the Philippine core value of “bayanihan”.
“Different nations coming together to learn how to build satellites means that they will help each other, learn together through the ups and downs, and come out with stronger bonds and bonds that will be useful to them for future cooperation,” Marciano added.
Images courtesy of Stamina4Space, screenshot by Lyn Resurreccion and screenshot by Lyn B. Resurreccion