[QODLink]
Americas

Satellite collides with Soviet-era rocket

Ecuador official says Pegaso survived crash with remains of S14 rocket, but is damaged and unable to transmit signal.

Last Modified: 24 May 2013 09:25
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Ecuador's space agency said Pegaso's collision occurred over Madagascar's east coast [La Republica]

A small Ecuadoran satellite that collided in space with the remains of a Soviet-era rocket has survived the crash, but is damaged and not transmitting, Quito's space agency says.

Ecuador's space agency EXA had said on Wednesday that a space fender-bender was imminent between its Pegaso (Pegasus) nanosatellite and the remains of an S14 rocket launched by the Soviet Union into space in 1985, in the middle of the Cold War.

Ronnie Nader, EXA's director, said on Thursday in a Twitter message that US space officials confirmed Pegaso had suffered only a glancing blow from the space debris.

"It was a not a direct hit," Nader, Ecuador's first and only astronaut, said on Twitter.

"Pegasus remains in orbit."

He said that despite the collision, which occurred at about 05:38 GMT, nearly 1,500km above the east coast of Madagascar, the satellite seemed to be holding its course.

Later data indicated that the nanosatellite - a cube measuring just 10cmX10cmX75cm, not counting its solar panels, and weighing 1.2kg - actually struck tiny debris in the particle cloud surrounding the Soviet space junk.

EXA said that the satellite's antenna had "lost its orientation and the craft is spinning wildly over two of its axes, so it cannot currently receive transmissions or send commands".

Ecuadorean engineers will not know whether they can get Pegaso to work again until Monday, according to EXA.

Nader earlier said that the nanosatellite was insured but did not say for how much.

Pegaso - the first satellite designed and built in Ecuador - set off aboard an unmanned rocket on April 25 from the Jiuquand station in northern China.

On May 16, it transmitted its first live video with audio. Last month's launch came amid much fanfare, including a live broadcast.

Ecuador plans to send a second satellite into space from Russia in July.

289

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list