Ecuador’s First Satellite Crashes With Russian Rocket Debris

Tags: Cubesat, Nanosatellite, Ecuador, Debris, Satellite Collision
Publication Date: 05/23/2013

EXA partnered with EarthCam to mount a live streaming camera on the satellite that users can tap into from the Web. Click on the image to see the archive.
Image credit: EarthCam

Ecuador’s first satellite launched last month has unfortunately crashed with debris from an old Russian rocket. The Pegasus nanosatellite was designed and built in Ecuador and launched by China on April 25. The cubesat weighs only 2.6 lb. and has been transmitting pictures from space while playing recordings of the Ecuadorean national anthem since May 16.

The US-based Joint Space Operations Center, which monitors all artificial Earth-orbiting objects, said there had been no direct crash but that their "data indicated a lateral collision with particles" of the Soviet rocket. The Ecuadorian Space Agency (EXA) said the satellite is still in orbit but it is still unclear whether it was damaged by the collision. It could take up to 48 hours to assess the damage.

"Pegasus could be damaged or spinning out of control, but because it’s still in orbit, we have hope," EXA Chief Ronnie Nader tweeted. The satellite was insured.

Ecuador is already planning on launching a second satellite from Russia in August.

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