PHL’s 1st cube satellite to be sent to International Space Station Friday

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will be launching an uncrewed SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, lift off on a Falcon 9 rocket, from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, United States today, June 29 at around 5:41 pm Philippine Standard Time (PST) to deliver around 5,900 pounds of cargo and scientific research to the International Space Station (ISS).

Included in Dragon’s payload is Philippines’ first cube satellite, Maya-1.

“It will be released in the orbit by August,” Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña told the Philippine News Agency (PNA). Maya-1 was developed by two Filipinos – Joven Javier and Adrian Salces – who are both PhD students at the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan.

“[Maya-1] is too small, about 10 cubic centimeters, but it can do a lot,” dela Peña said. Albeit small, he noted that it contains an Automatic Packet Radio Service Digipeater, which can communicate with ham radios. The cube satellite, in fact, also carries two cameras.

These cameras, he said, have a wide angle and narrow angle lenses, which are used to capture images and videos for research purposes.

The DOST chief added that inside Maya-1 is a low-cost GPS (global positioning system) commercial off-the-shelf chip and a magnetometer to measure the magnetic field in space. “So it’s small but it carries a lot,” dela Peña said, noting that the main purpose of Maya-1 is to log data corruption incidents due to space radiation.

Maya-1 is among the three cube satellites that will be delivered to ISS on Friday. The other cube satellites were from Malaysia and Bhutan. “The three cube satellites are under the 2nd Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Project of Kyutech,” he said.

Meanwhile, dela Peña said there might be a second Philippine cube satellite. However, what the DOST is preparing for now is the launch of Diwata-2 within the year.

Diwata-2 is the Philippines’ second microsatellite, which is lighter and more cubic than the Diwata-1. Compared with the Diwata-1, Diwata-2 will be launched at a higher orbit via an H-IIA rocket that launches satellites into a geostationary orbit. with PNA