Filipino Nanosatellite Maya-2 Is Now in Space and Here's What It'll Do

Maya-2 took off for the International Space Station on February 21!

maya-2 philippine satellite
ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Maya-2, the Philippines's second cube satellite, took off on Sunday, February 21, heading to the International Space Station aboard the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cynus spacecraft. From there, it will be launched into orbit at a later date—meaning that we will soon have another eye in the sky that was made by, and made for, the Philippines!

maya-2 philippine satellite
The spacecraft carrying our satellite off to space.
PHOTO BY Screengrab from NASA Live Feed
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maya-2 philippine satellite
PHOTO BY Stamina4Space / Birds-2 Project
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Maya-2 was created by Filipino scholars under the Kyushu Institute of Technology's 4th Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite Project. But aside from being a super cool satellite in itself, the launch is all about keeping the interest in this kind of research. It will hopefully lead a "systems engineering mindset among our researchers, [encourage] local partners that can co-develop our space industry, and [enhance] Science Technology and Engineering curricula in K-12 and higher education," said Dr. Maricor Soriano of the STAMINA4Space Program, a Department of Science and Technology funded project, in a statement.

What Will the Maya-2 Philippine Satellite Do?

maya-2 philippine satellite
Engineers Adrian Salces (left) and Joven Javier (right) with Philippine Space Agency Director-General Marciano (center), the team behind Maya-1, now posing with Maya-2 and other cube sats from different countries. 
PHOTO BY Stamina4Space / Birds-2 Project
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The Maya-2 launched with several other cube satellites developed by other nations under the Kyushu Birds project. These "birds" will serve as a "technology demonstration and educational platform geared to collect data remotely." So while the 1.3-kilogram cube may look as adorable as the mayas we have here on Earth, this satellite definitely has a few more tricks up its sleeves. The satellite is equipped with a camera for image and video capture, 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 Latchup-detection chip—all of which were features improved upon based on learnings from the Maya-1 satellite.

“Maya-2 is [a part of a] well executed plan that Maya-1 will not remain as Maya-1 but it will continue to grow and improve as a series of Mayas—as a platform to explore and educate Filipino generations of engineers and scientists in the meaningful and peaceful use of outer space,” said Engineer Joven C. Javier, who led the team behind several satellite launches, Maya-1 included. 

maya-2 philippine satellite
The engineers working on the satellites in Japan.
PHOTO BY Stamina4Space / Birds-2 Project
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Mark Angelo Purio, Izrael Zenar Bautista, and Marloun Sejera are among the Pinoy engineers who developed the Maya-2 satellite. And while Maya-2 waits to be launched from the International Space Station (ISS) to orbit, already the team is working on satellites Maya-3, Maya-4, Maya-5, and Maya-6—all of which are in their respective design and development phases. 

"This is but another step in our long journey as a space-faring nation," noted Paul Jason Co, head of the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships of the STAMINA4Space Program. Fingers crossed we have more Maya sats in space soon enough!

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