Ecuador's Very First Satellite Has Very Bad Luck

3-pound cube satellite hits space debris, might be kaput after just a month

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 24, 2013 12:37 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ecuador's space agency achieved a big milestone a month ago when it launched its first-ever satellite into space. Little Pegasus, a cube-shaped device weighing less than 3 pounds, had been happily transmitting photos and playing the Ecuadorean national anthem in orbit ever since—until it apparently smashed into the fuel tank of an old Soviet rocket this week, reports the BBC. And then, silence.

"Pegasus could be damaged or spinning out of control, but because it's still in orbit, we have hope," says the chief of the space agency, which should know for sure whether it's kaput in a few days. At least it's insured, so the government's $700,000 investment wouldn't be a total loss. (Click to read about how collisions with space junk are sure to become even more common.)

An undated handout photo for the European Space Agency shows a computer simulation of the distribution and movement of space debris.
An undated handout photo for the European Space Agency shows a computer simulation of the distribution and movement of space debris.   (AP Photo/TU Braunschweig, File)
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