Russian rocket wreckage threatens Ecuador satellite

Quito, May 23 (IANS/EFE) The Ecuadorian Civil Space Agency issued an alert Wednesday about a possible collision of its Pegaso satellite, launched last month, with the wreckage of a Russian rocket.

“ALERT: Possible collision of NEE-01 PEGASO and remains of Russian rocket,” appeared Wednesday on the Twitter account of the space agency known as EXA.

EXA’s director, astronaut Ronnie Nader, published a notice from the Joint Space Operations Center about the possibility of such a crash.

“Official notification about a possible collision of PEGASO with remains of Russian rocket,” said Nader.

Pegaso, launched into orbit April 26 and whose streaming video signal has been received since May 16, has successfully transmitted images of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Besides streaming video images, the satellite also transmits sounds in Morse code that students can decode thanks to a program established by EXA in its fervour to awaken interest in all things aerospace.

Pegaso, a cube-shaped apparatus that weighs just 2.1 kg, went into orbit aboard an LM2D rocket launched from the Jiuquan Space Launch Center in China’s Gansu province.

The nanosatellite, which took a year to build, and its twin, Krysaor, whose launch is scheduled from Russia in August, cost EXA and several private companies $80,000.

Ecuador’s government provided about $700,000 to cover launch, insurance, logistics and certification costs for the two satellites.

–IANS/EFE

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