The Philippines’ latest locally-made cube satellites (CubeSats)—the Maya-5 and Maya-6—have finally made it to the International Space Station, following a launch that took place on June 5, 2023, at 11:47 PM PST.

The two tiny contraptions, weighing only 1.15kg each, were aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 while on its 28th commercial resupply mission.

Once released into space, the CubeSats will move along the same orbit as the International Space Station, roughly 400 kilometers in height.

An undertaking borne from the efforts of multiple entities, the successful project was the result of the collaborative efforts between the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), with funding coming from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), under the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) project of the STAMINA4Space Program.

Credit: STAMINA4Space

Additionally, the program is also carried out due to the partnership between Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) and the DOST-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI)’s scholarship support, under the Master of Science (MS) or Master of Engineering (MEng) program of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (EEEI).

Effectively, the Maya-5 and Maya-6 satellite cubes are a follow-up to their predecessors—the Maya-3 and Maya-4—which had a triumphant launch on August 29, 2021, but were subsequently decommissioned on August 4, 2022.

An essential component of the course of the UP EEEI’s nanosatellite engineering track, the CubeSats were the products of the creative efforts of the second batch of STeP-UP scholars Gio Asher Tagabi, Genesis Remocaldo, Khazmir Camille Valerie Macaraeg, Chandler Timm Doloriel, Angela Clarisse Chua, Ronald Collamar, Joseph Jonathan Co, and Anna Ruth Alvarez.

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