QUITO – Ecuador’s first satellite avoided a direct collision with the remains of a Russian rocket, but whether the device is still operating remains unclear, the head of the country’s EXA space agency told Efe on Thursday.
The U.S.-based Joint Space Operations Center, which had alerted EXA to the possible threat to Pegaso, informed the Ecuadorian agency on Thursday that the Russian wreckage did not hit the satellite head-on.
“There was no frontal, direct collision, but we knew that the rocket carried fragments,” EXA director Ronnie Nader said, adding that Pegaso’s next transmission to the ground monitoring station is scheduled for Friday.
“I know that it’s whole, I know that it’s in orbit, but I don’t know if it still works,” Ecuador’s first astronaut said.
Pegaso, a cube weighing just 2.1 kilos (4.6 pounds), was placed in orbit April 26 and began transmitting video on May 16, providing overhead views of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
The nano-satellite was launched from China’s Jiuquan space center. Pegaso’s twin, Krysaor, is set for lift-off in August atop a Russian rocket. EFE