QUITO – Ecuador will send its first domestically produced satellite into orbit in late April from a launch center in China, the Andean nation’s president, Rafael Correa, said Saturday.
“At the end of the month, the first Ecuadorian satellite will be launched, not a satellite bought from a foreign country (but) a satellite made in Ecuador,” Correa said in his weekly radio address.
He noted that the initiative was carried out by the Ecuadorian Civil Space Agency, which is headed by the country’s first astronaut, Ronnie Nader.
The small “NEE-01 Pegasus” nanosatellite, which measures 10 centimeters (four inches) by 10 centimeters, is equipped with 75-centimeter panels and weighs 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds), will be launched on April 26 from China, Nader said during Correa’s address.
The satellite will be carried into orbit by an unmanned rocket and transmit live video signals to an Ecuadorian ground station, which will decode them and then upload them live to the Internet.
“Pegasus” was initially scheduled to be launched last September, but that date was pushed back because another satellite that was to have been carried by the same rocket was not ready.