Maya-1 Nanosatellite (cropped).jpg
A model of the satellite
Mission typeTechnology demonstration
OperatorUniversity of the Philippines
SATCAT no.43590
Mission duration6-9 months (planned)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type1U CubeSat
ManufacturerUniversity of the Philippines
Launch mass1.11 kg
Dimensions10 × 10 × 11.35 cm
Start of mission
Launch date29 June 2018, 09:42 UTC
RocketFalcon 9 Full Thrust
Launch siteCape Canaveral, SLC-40
Deployed fromISS
Deployment dateAugust 10, 2018
End of mission
DeclaredNovember 23, 2020
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Joint Global Multi-nations Birds Satellite
← Birds-1

Maya-1 was a Filipino nanosatellite. It was developed under the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite program (PHL-Microsat) and was jointly implemented by the University of the Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology as part of the Kyushu Institute of Technology-led multinational second Joint Global Multi-nations Birds Satellite (Birds-2). Maya-1 was the first nanosatellite of the Philippines.


Following the launch of the Diwata-1 microsatellite in 2016, the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced on 29 June 2017 that two satellites, one nanosatellite and one microsatellite, will be launched in 2018. The government agency said that Filipino graduate students, Joven Javier and Adrian Salces attending Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT), Japan were working on developing a satellite with their mentors which at that time was still to be named.[1]

The satellite, later dubbed as Maya-1, was developed mainly through the second Joint Global Multination Birds Satellite (Birds-2) initiated by the Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT) in Japan.[2] The project is managed by a team composed of 11 graduate students from Bhutan, Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines.[3] The two other satellites developed under Birds-2; BHUTAN-1 of Bhutan and UiTMSAT-1 of Malaysia. The first iteration of the project (Birds-1) was a joint effort by Bangladesh, Ghana, Japan, Mongolia, and Nigeria.[4]

The project was also placed under the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite program.[2] The PHL-Microsat team suggested the satellite to be named after the Maya, a local term for a certain varieties of bird in the Philippines.[4] The Maya-1 satellite and its successors are specifically named after the Chestnut munia (Lonchura atricapilla), which is among the bird species locally referred to as the maya, due to its similar size to the satellite with the Chestnut munia known to grow around 12 centimeters (0.39 ft) long.[5][6]


The Birds-2 project commenced in November 2016.[7] Maya-1 was designed by PHL-Microsat scholars and KIT graduate students Joven Javier and Adrian Salces. Javier is pursuing a master's degree while Salces is pursuing a doctorate degree.[8]

Javier, who is also the overall project manager of Birds-2, served as the Electronics PCB Designer of Maya-1 while Salces was responsible for developing the satellite's Ground Station Segment and Communication Subsystem.[9]

The satellite which is classified as a 1U CubeSat.[7] It measures 10 × 10 × 11.35 cm and weighs 1.11 kilograms (2.4 lb).[10] Maya-1 took fifteen months to build.[2]


Maya-1 was built using components which are commercially available which was determined safe to use in space. The satellite, along with BHUTAN-1 and UiTMSAT-1, is equipped with Automatic Packet Reporting System digipeater. This equipment is used to demonstrate communication relay capabilities of the three satellites. Maya-1 is also equipped with a Global Positioning System chip and a magnetometer, the latter to be used in measuring magnetic fields in space.[3]

Launch and mission

Birds-2 in the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer.
Birds-2 satellites deployed from the Kibō module.

Maya-1 was launched to space on 29 June 2018, via the Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket at Cape Canaveral in Florida, United States as part of the SpaceX CRS-15 Commercial Resupply Service mission. BHUTAN-1 and UiTMSAT-1 which were also developed under the Birds-2 project was also among the payload of the rocket.[8] Maya-1, along with the two other satellites were deployed[11] from the International Space Station (ISS) on 10 August 2018 through the Japanese Kibō module on the ISS. It orbits approximately the same altitude of the ISS at about 400 kilometres (250 mi). A few days after its deployment, amateur ground stations from ten participating nations of the Birds project will confirmed communication with the three satellites.[12]

While built solely by Filipinos, the satellite will be jointly controlled and operated by the Philippines, Bhutan, and Malaysia. The combined cost to build and launch Maya-1 is around US$150,000 (₱8 million).[2] The mission of Maya-1 is for "experimentally testing of commercial apparatus" and due to its size, "a cost-effective educational platform" to help Filipinos build future satellites. The satellite could also be used to relay messages in the event typhoons render cellular services unavailable.[3]

The satellite was initially projected to be operational from about six to 9 months.[12] However Maya-1 remained in orbit for two years and four months with its operations ending on November 23, 2020 when it re-entered Earth's atmosphere.[13]


  1. ^ Usman, Edd (30 June 2017). "After micro-satellite, DOST set to launch "cube satellites" in 2018". Newsbytes. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Maya-1: Cube satellite latest Pinoy venture into space". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 1 July 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Sabillo, Kristine (29 June 2018). "SpaceX brings Philippines' Maya-1 cube satellite to ISS". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b Francisco, Mikael Angelo (1 July 2018). "Space To Excel: Why The First Pinoy-Made Cube Satellite Matters". FlipScience. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  5. ^ Madarang, Catalina Ricci (23 February 2021). "'Hindi ito pinagtatawanan': Space enthusiasts cheer on Philippines' 2nd cube satellite Maya-2 despite naysayers". Interaksyon (in English and Tagalog). Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Tulad nang sinabi ng SciKomiks—ang uri ng Maya na pinagbasehan ng pangalan ng mga buntabay na Maya-1 at Maya-2..." Facebook. STAMINA4Space. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b Palden, Tshering (30 June 2018). "BHUTAN-1 leaves for space". Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  8. ^ a b Panela, Shaira (29 June 2018). "Philippines launches first CubeSat into space". Rappler. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  9. ^ Francisco, Mikael Angelo (2 July 2018). "Maya-1 cubesat launch signals next phase of Pinoy space exploration". Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Joint Global Multi-Nations Birds Satellite project" (PDF) (in Japanese). Kyushu Institute of Technology. 26 February 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  11. ^ "ICYMI: Maya-1, Philippines' first CubeSat satellite, is already deployed in its orbit in space!". DOST-PCIEERD. 10 August 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b "PHL's Maya-1 CubeSat to be deployed from International Space Station on August 10". BusinessMirror. 9 August 2018. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  13. ^ Nazario, Dhel (29 November 2020). "Maya-1, PH's first cube satellite, completes mission". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 29 November 2020.