The Philippines has made one giant leap of triumph as it successfully launched two locally developed cube satellites (CubeSats) to the International Space Station (ISS) on June 5.
According to a release by the Philippine Space Agency, the 1.15-kilogram CubeSats, called Maya-5 and Maya-6, were sent into space aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 as part of SpaceX’s 28th commercial resupply mission.
Once they are released into space, they will begin moving along an orbit at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers.
The two CubeSats were built under the program of STAMINA4Space that was supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and is implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP) and the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute.
Maya-5 and Maya-6 are the second set of Philippine university-built CubeSats, crafted by UP scholars composed of Anna Ruth Alvarez, Joseph Jonathan Co, Ronald Collamar, Angela Clarisse Chua, Chandler Timm Doloriel, Khazmir Camille Valerie Macaraeg, Genesis Remocaldo, and Gio Asher Tagabi.
The successful launch allows local scientists to acquire space technology know-how and hands-on experience in satellite development. It also aims to boost utilization of locally available components, fabricated boards, and manufactured structural frames.
Franz De Leon, director of the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute, also said that the CubSats will allow scientists and researchers to "develop new power generation, which will bring in many more space technological breakthroughs not only to the country, but soon to the world."
STAMINA4Space Program Leader Dr. Maricor Soriano meanwhile highlighted that having locally-made satellites contributes to sustainability in terms of space science and technology development.
"Building our own CubeSats and innovating together with local companies should pave the way for a space tech industry base. It is up to all three entities, government, academe and industry, to collectively sustain this," she said.
But the mission is not yet over as the next nanosatellite, Maya-7, is currently being developed through a project by the Philippine Space Agency.
The first CubeSat, named Maya-1, was launched on June 29, 2018 and ended its mission November 23, 2020, before being followed by three more satellites.