Ecuadorian Satellite Crashes with Space Debris
The nano-satellite, called Pegasus, was launched from the Jiuquan spaceport in China less than a month ago.
It is Ecuador’s first and only satellite in orbit.
Experts said Pegasus had collided with debris from a Soviet rocket but was still in orbit. It is not yet clear if it has been damaged.
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 satellite itself doesn’t exactly have a major mission, however:
Pegasus, a small cube weighing just 1.2kg (2.6lb), has been orbiting the Earth at a height of 650km (404 miles), transmitting pictures from space while playing recordings of the Ecuadorean national anthem.
Beyond the fact that it was about space (which is probably reason enough to mention it), the story struck me as interesting for at least two reasons. First, it shows how countries still see placing an object in space as a means of enhancing their prestige. Second, it is another example of Chinese relations with Latin America.
The next launch will be, however, from Russia:
Ecuador is planning to launch a second satellite, named Kryasor, from Russia in August.