El Telégrafo
El Telégrafo



Ecuador launches its first satellite into space

26 de abril de 2013 09:06

As of late last night, Ecuador is part of a group of only about 30 countries that have space programs. The microsatellite Pegaso was launched at 11:13 p.m. local time, a joint mission carried out by control rooms in Ecuador and at the site of the rocket launch at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province, China.

Pegaso, named after the winged horse in Greek mythology but also after a cartoon character that the satellite’s creator, Ronnie Nader, remembered from his childhood, is a 10x10cm cube with solar panel wings, containing a high definition camera and a transmitter that will send its signal back to Earth. The camera is equipped to stream live video from Pegaso’s orbit, and can also send still images.

Last night Ecuador’s President and mission commander Nader were at the mission control centre at the 911 call centre in Samborondón, Guayaquil. Journalists and members of the Ecuadorian civil space society’s team (known as EXA) watched the countdown on a giant screen.

EXA, led by Nader, designed and built the satellite using only Ecuadorian technology.

The governor of Guayas, the vice-president elect, and the coordinating minister of security were also at the launch.

When the countdown reached zero, the room applauded. After fifteen minutes, the Chinese control room was able to confirm the satellites location in orbit, and Nader said the words: “Welcome to the sky, Pegaso. Welcome to space, Ecuador.”

President Correa then said a few words: “Today we have confirmed that dreams are important. Thanks to these adventurers, we can feel proud to have advanced as a country.”

Pegaso is expected to start transmitting its first images today or tomorrow (visible here). 

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