Ecuadorian Satellite Crashes with Space Debris

Via the BBC:  Ecuador Pegasus satellite fears over space debris crash

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.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Latin America, Science & Technology, World Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. gVOR08 says:

    Third point of interest – we’ve put enough junk in near earth orbit that it’s becoming a significant problem.

  2. stonetools says:

    This also shows the globalization of high tech. Things like satellite tech used to be the province of Russia and the US. Now, such technology is becoming common place across even the “Third World.” Who knows, maybe soon we will have Rastafarians on space stations a la Nueromancer.

    China is all over Africa, even down to the village level. I guess they are now aggressively seeking markets even in “America’s backyard”.

    Over the past five years, Chinese businesses have been expanding their footprint in Latin America in a number of ways, beginning with enhanced trade to ensure a steady supply of bulk commodities such as oil, copper and soybeans. At this year’s Boao Forum for Asia, for the first time a Latin American sub-forum was created that included the participation of several heads of state from the region.

    Since 2011, China has overtaken the Netherlands to become Latin America’s second biggest investor behind the United States. China has signed a series of large cooperation agreements with Latin American countries in such fields as finance, resources and energy.

  3. Franklin says:

    @gVOR08: And fourth: every time one of these collisions happens, it causes even more debris. It’s an exponentially growing problem, but so far we are only at the beginning of it.