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Ambassador Garcia-Albano Promotes Space Cooperation Between The Philippines and Japan

19 July 2023 – Ambassador Mylene J. Garcia-Albano met with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) President, Dr. Hiroshi Yamakawa, and JAXA officials on the occasion of the deployment into space of Maya-5 and Maya-6, the second set of Philippine university-built CubeSats and the latest series of nanosatellites to be built and funded under the STAMINA4Space program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the University of the Philippines-Diliman. This is the sixth successful launch to orbit of satellites built in collaboration between the Philippines and Japan.

Before the deployment event at the Tsukuba Space Center, JAXA officials briefed Ambassador Garcia-Albano on JAXA’s international and regional initiatives, including its bilateral space cooperation with the Philippines. Ambassador Garcia-Albano thanked JAXA and the Japanese government for its invaluable contribution in developing the Philippines’ space program. She looked forward to further advancing the space cooperation between the Philippines and Japan, including in the development of a human resource pool of Filipino scientists and engineers with space-related capabilities. JAXA also gave a tour of its Space Dome where test models of various satellites, rocket engines used in firing tests, and a full-scale model of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), “Kibo”, are exhibited.

From JAXA’s Mission Control Room (MCR), Ambassador Garcia-Albano, Embassy officials, and JAXA officials witnessed in real-time the launch into orbit of Maya-5 and Maya-6 from JEM-Kibo of the International Space Station (ISS) at exactly 1600H (JST). The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary, Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., provided the Go/No Go Call virtually. NASA Astronaut Warren Hoburg also gave his congratulatory message from the ISS. The deployment event was hosted by JAXA Astronaut Norishige Kanai.

The development of the CubeSats, weighing approximately 1.15 kilograms each, is part of the course requirements of the UP Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute’s (EEEI) nanosatellite engineering track. The Filipino scholars worked with partners in the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) in Japan for testing the nanosatellites. Maya-5 and Maya-6 were aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 as part of SpaceX’s 28th commercial resupply mission, which launched on 05 June 2023.

Through the space cooperation between the Philippines and Japan, particularly through the programs implemented by JAXA, the Philippines is able to access small satellite launch and development opportunities. These satellites have become instrumental in weather forecasting and development of various disaster management programs that benefit the agriculture and fisheries sectors as well in the management of forest, mines, and cultural and historical sites.

The bilateral space cooperation program of the Philippines and Japan aims to cultivate STEM talent, advance technology cooperation, expand data applications, deepen space policy dialogues, and nurture the growth of the space industry in the Philippines.

The deployment event may be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kci4493p2Q