Science department underscores long term benefits of Maya-2 cube satellite

By: Allan Mauro V. Marfal, DOST-STII

Another milestone for the Philippines in the area of space technology happened on 14 March 2021 at around 7:20 PM when Maya-2, another cube satellite (CubeSat) made by Filipino engineers studying in Japan, was released from the International Space Station (ISS).

Incidentally, Maya-2 was launched to the ISS from earth aboard the Cygnus NG-15 rocket (S.S. Katherine Johnson) on 21 February 2021, together with CubeSats Tsuru (Japan) and GuaraniSat-1 (Paraguay). The release of Maya-2, the fourth successful attempt to send a satellite to space in collaboration with Japan, seals the commitment of the Philippines to continue to nurture the longstanding partnership with the said country.

Maya-2, together with CubeSats Tsuru of Japan, and GuaraniSat-1 of Paraguay, was designed and developed under the 4th Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite (BIRDS-4) Project of the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan. Their primary purpose is to create a technology demonstration from which the learnings will be used as an educational platform.

Maya-2 can remotely collect data using a Store-and-Forward (S&F) mechanism and capture images and videos using an on-board camera. Its 1.3 kg frame is also equipped with 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 a Latchup-detection chip.

In his statement, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña shared his gratitude and excitement on the successful launching of Maya-2. He said that the accomplishment of our young Filipino researchers and engineers should make us more confident that we can do more in the area of space technology. 

“I have high hopes that we as a people will be able to benefit more from developments in this area—all towards making the quality of life of our people better,” said DOST Secretary de la Peña.

According to de la Peña, this project will further intensify the efforts of the country to harness the power of satellite technology that can provide long-term benefits for the country that far outweigh the cost. The benefits will impact on the different sectors: in agriculture, forest cover and natural resources inventory, weather forecasting, and disaster damage assessment and monitoring, among others.

The science chief added that the images captured by these cube satellites and information generated, in particular, can be a strong basis for policy recommendations, project implementation, and decision-making that will benefit various sectors of society. 

The three Filipino engineers were sent to Kyutech by the Department of Science and Technology’s Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) to pursue their doctoral degrees as part of a scholarship program done in cooperation with the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) Project or the STAMINA4Space Program. They are Izrael Zenar Casople Bautista (Project Manager), a graduate of BS Electronics and Communications Engineering from the University of the Philippines Diliman; Mark Angelo Cabrera Purio (Camera Mission Back Plane Board Design and Planning), a graduate of BS Electronics and Communications Engineering from Batangas State University; and Marloun Pelayon Sejera (Communication System Automatic Packet Reporting System-Digipeater Mission), a graduate of BS Electronics and Communications Engineering from the Mapua Institute of Technology. 

BIRDS Project Principal Investigator Dr. Mengu Cho also shared that the primary goal of the project is to foster human resources to initiate indigenous space programs in non-space-faring countries.  

“After seeing the infant space programs in many countries, I can say that the Philippines is one of the best examples of a success story for Maya-2, three students from the Philippines are engaged and play key roles in the entire BIRDS-4 project. I am sure that they can be an important asset to the future Philippine space program,” said Dr. Cho. 

Meanwhile, Kyutech Assistant Professor George Maeda said that of all the BIRDS partners, none is more serious about developing in-country ‘human resources’ than the Philippines. 

“Before you can make a spacecraft, you have to train engineers who know how to make them. The point is understood in your country. The fruit of knowledge acquired at Kyutech is taken to the Philippines and then applied to help others—this ‘multiplication of knowledge’ is precisely what we want to occur. This is what education is all about. It means to spread knowledge. Replace darkness with the light on a broad scale,” said Prof. Maeda. 

On the other hand, DOST-SEI Director Josette T. Biyo stressed that Maya-2’s successful deployment in space is a living proof that the investment made in these scholarships is well worth it. She said that they exemplify the perseverance of Filipinos and the brilliance of our science scholars. Maya-2 proves that the country’s space program and science scholarships are investments worthy of people’s support.

After the scholars complete their studies, they have their eyes set on furthering the proliferation of the knowledge they gained in Japan and bring it back to the Philippines. 
Engr. Purio said that aside from imparting what he learned in Japan to his alma maters, he envisions setting up our own ground station in the university to continue our efforts to support space-related activities while involving our students by providing them hands-on training.

As for Engr. Bautista, he hopes to contribute to the growing space industry back home. He plans to continue what he has learned in Japan, from his research in Perovskite solar cells to satellite systems engineering, to hopefully providing meaningful output for the Philippines.

BIRDS-4 engineers with the BIRDS-4 satellites. Back (Left to Right:  Mark Angelo Cabrera Purio (Philippines), Izrael Bautista (Philippines), Hari Ram Shrestha (Nepal), Yuma Nozaki (Japan), Anibal Mendoza (Paraguay), Marloun Sejera (Philippines) Front (Left to Right): Daisuke Nakayama (Japan), Yasir Abbas (Sudan), Adolfo Javier Jara Cespedes (Paraguay), Yiğit Çay (Turkey). Photo courtesy of the BIRDS-4 Project.
Screenshots of the BIRDS-4 CubeSats being deployed from the ISS. (Captured from the JAXA livestream.)
Maya-2 Flight Model (FM). A 1U, 10x10x10-centimeter CubeSat weighing 1.3 kilograms. (Photo courtesy
of BIRDS-4 Project)

PH’s 2nd cube satellite now in orbit

Maya-2, the Philippines’ second cube satellite, was successfully released into orbit by the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, 14 March 2021, along with Paraguay’s GuaraniSat-1 and Japan’s Tsuru.Developed under Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology’s 4th Joint Global Multi-Nation Birds Satellite (BIRDS-4) Project, these cube satellites were launched on February 21, 2021 at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Station in Virginia, United States through the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus spacecraft at 1:36 AM PST.
Maya-2 was designed and built by Filipino scholars assisted through the Space Science and Technology Proliferation through University Partnerships (STeP-UP) Project of the Space Technology and Applications Mastery, Innovation and Advancement (STAMINA4Space) Program, with funding support from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
“The successful launch of Maya-2 makes me feel proud. The accomplishment made possible by our young researchers and engineers should make us confident that we can do more in the area of space technology. I have high hopes that we, as a people, will be able to benefit more from developments in this area–all towards making the quality of life of our people better,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.
Maya-2 engineers Izrael Zenar Bautista, Mark Angelo Purio, and Marloun Sejera confirms that upon deployment of the CubeSat, they will immediately start carrying out the satellite’s missions.

Maya-2’s engineers in Kyutech Laboratory
 At just 1.3 kg, Maya-2 has a camera that captures images and videos, 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 a Latchup-detection chip. Gathered data from the demonstrated components will be used to evaluate these technologies for future space missions.

Further, it can collect data remotely through a store-and-forward mechanism and gather data for applications such as weather and infectious disease analysis through ground sensors. Maya-2 was developed and improved using the knowledge gained from developing its predecessor, Maya-1.

DOST and STAMINA4Space Program are looking forward to the continued expansion of the Philippines’ capabilities and innovations in the space technology applications sector with the development of more Filipino-made satellites. They have corroborated that Maya-3 and Maya-4 are targeted to be launched within 2021.

As the monitoring agency of the STAMINA4Space Program, DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) is optimistic that these STA initiatives will bring positive change to the country.

“As a leader and preferred partner in enabling game-changing innovations in the emerging technology sectors, the successful release of Maya-2 into orbit is testament that Filipino scientists and engineers are capable of uplifting the lives of Filipinos through research and development (R&D),” said DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit. (30)

For inquiries or related concerns, you may contact Raissa Ancheta at or 0976-03708666.

US communications regulatory agency recognizes PHL electronics facility’s ISO 17025 accreditation

11 March 2021 – The Philippines may soon expand its electronics testing market to the United States as independent communications regulation agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressed recognition over the testing capabilities of the Philippines’ Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC).
In an email, Jihad Hermes of the FCC informed EPDC that it recognizes the ISO 17025 accreditation it obtained from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation last September 2019.
The recognition allows the EPDC to perform compliance testing on equipment subject to the Commission’s Declaration of Conformity (DOC) and Certification rules for Unintentional Radiators.
Mr. Peter Antonio B. Banzon, Chief Science Research Specialist at DOST-ASTI and Project Leader for EPDC commended its team and industry partners at the Electronics Industries Association of the Philippines, Inc. (EIAPI) for their hard work in making this achievement possible.
“We are very happy with this development as not only does it open up the EPDC to foreign clients of its testing services but more importantly, it opens up and lowers the barriers for local companies and innovators to enter the US market with our very own innovative products.  Expensive tests that used to be performed abroad can now be done much faster and more economically here in the Philippines”.
DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit lauded the recognition as it opens new opportunities for the facility especially in the international arena.
“We welcome this development and we hope more electronics companies here and abroad avail of the EPDC services.  As a leader and partner in enabling innovations, we encourage our industry partners to collaborate with us and come up with new opportunities in the country”.
The ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation demonstrates technical competence for a defined scope and the operation of a laboratory quality management system.
It also helps facilitate cooperation between laboratories and other bodies by generating wider acceptance of results between countries.
Test reports and certificates can be accepted from one country to another without the need for further testing, which improves international trade.
Mr. Earl Lawrence S. Qua, President of EIAPI, also congratulated the EPDC Team for attaining the accreditation.

“EIAPI is thrilled with the accreditation; it is a great validation of the hard work of the men and women at the EPDC who are offering certified world class services. This means that test results coming from EPDC will be recognized by the FCC.

Thanks to the leadership of DOST Secretary Dela Peña, Undersecretary Guevara, and the support and collaboration of Dr. Paringit of DOST-PCIEERD and the staff of DOST-ASTI, these tools are now made available to every Filipino innovator. The EPDC provides services and the use of facilities that are normally only available to large companies. We hope the EPDC becomes a catalyst for the enablement of the Philippine Electronics Design and Manufacturing Industry to scale and to ensure that more Filipino designed products are successfully brought to market, locally and globally.
In addition to its PCB Design, Prototyping and Testing, The EPDC is in the process of expanding its prototyping capability to include a PCB wet processes lab.”
The Electronics Industries Association of the Philippines, Inc. (EIAPI), which manages the operations of EPDC, together with DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) hopes that this recognition from the FCC will help EPDC’s testing capabilities go beyond electronics production and drive for original design and development activities in the Philippines as well.
This is so that the facility can cater for the bigger market which is manufacturing and assembly of electronic products.

Electronic Compatibility Test Facility (EPDC)

About EPDC
Inaugurated in July 2015, the Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC) is a world-class electronics testing facility designed to support the electronics industry by providing various technical support services to promote innovation and high value product development.
The Electronics Industries Association of the Philippines, Inc. (EIAPI) was established in 1986 by a group of young Filipino entrepreneurs engaged in the electronics business to promote the development of the Philippine electronics industry with emphasis on locally developed products. The association acts as a liaison between its members and the government, the academe, and other industries in the country. EIAPI serves as the collective voice of its members, particularly in articulating common problems and concerns by bringing these to the attention of relevant parties, as well as helping in the formulation of government policies.
Established in 1987 by Executive Order No. 128, the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) is an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that undertakes scientific research and development and technology transfer in the advanced fields of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), computing, electronics and their applications. The DOST-ASTI continues to dedicate itself to developing and delivering technology solutions to enable a productive, globally competitive, and resilient Filipino society.
The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) is one of the sectoral planning councils of DOST that provides support to research and development in the industry, energy, and emerging technology sectors.

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