Filipino-made cube satellites (CubeSats) Maya-3 and Maya-4 are now back on Earth’s atmosphere ten months after it was deployed to space.
The Maya-3 ended its mission last August 4, 2022, at 10:01 PM while the Maya-4 was at August 8, 2022, at 4:09 PM. If you remember, the cube satellites went to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket back in August of 2021.
The Maya-3 and Maya-4 are the first CubeSats in the Philippines to be built in a local university setting. They were designed and developed by the first batch of scholars from the Space Science and Technology Proliferation via the University Partnerships (STeP-UP) project of the STAMINA4Space Program.
As per Dr. Maricor Soriano of STAMINA4SPACE, the CubeSats played a pivotal role in the development of the local space industry. He added that “these CubeSats are experimental and educational platforms, and while all low earth orbiting satellites will eventually fall to earth, what matters more are the lasting intangibles that the project brought – knowledge, skill, partnerships, and confidence that we can do it.”
One of the missions of the CubeSats was to carry a commercial off-the-shelf APRS-Digipeater Payload Demonstration. It uses packet radio technology to help transmit data over amateur radio.
That said, during their mission, both CubeSats managed to transmit APRS beacons to ten countries on different occasions. A couple of amateur radio operators from 8 countries were also able to successfully digipeat.
According to one of the creators of the satellites, the Maya-3 and Maya-4 prove that the Philippines can produce satellites locally. Renzo S. Wee added that they have “successfully transferred the knowledge and know-how acquired abroad by virtue of foreign studies and proliferated those lessons locally.”
Other than Wee, the satellites were also developed by Gladys Bajaro, Judiel Reyes, Marielle Magbanua-Gregorio, Derick Canceran, Bryan Custodio, Lorilyn Daquioag, and Christy Raterta.