The country’s two locally made cube satellites (CubeSats) Maya-3 and Maya-4, are now operational following their release to space on October 6, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said on Thursday.
“(DOST) Undersecretary (Rowena Cristina) Guevara told me the (two CubeSats) are now up and running. Paul Jason Co (project leader of Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships program) told her they were able to receive and decode beacons shortly after the (CubeSats) release last night,” he said in a Viber message.
Based on Philippine Space Agency’s Facebook post on Thursday, a “beacon” is like the satellite’s heartbeat which lets the ground team know that the satellite is “alive and well” in space.
“They were also able to receive and decode the signals this morning from the UPD (UP Diliman) ground stations. Based on the telemetry data from these signals, both satellites are ‘healthy’,” de la Peña said.
The team is currently monitoring the status of the satellites, and are planning the execution of the satellites’ missions, he added.
Both CubeSats were released to space from the International Space Station on Wednesday at 5:20 p.m. (PST) via Japan’s Japanese Experiment (JEM) or “Kibo” Laboratory Module.
Maya-3 and Maya-4 were developed under the STAMINA4Space (Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement) program through the support of the DOST, UP Diliman, PhilSA, and Kyushu Institute of Technology of Japan.
The CubeSats aim to demonstrate satellite stabilization and control on orbit, onboard image processing and classification, as well as the use of solar cells and CubeSat antenna, test functionality of sensors, and chips.
De la Peña lauded the engineers behind Maya-3 and Maya-4 for their continuous efforts and hard work in leveraging the country’s space science technology.
“I am extending my congratulations to everyone for the successful deployment of the Philippines’ very own Maya-3 and Maya-4 cube satellites from the International Space Station. It was indeed a remarkable feat not only for those within the scientific community but more broadly for our countrymen. Truly, the Filipino scientists and engineers are worth investing for,” he said.
He said the DOST is looking forward that these CubeSats will further demonstrate the country’s space capabilities and provide more opportunities to harness space technologies.