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NEE-01 Pegaso was an Ecuadorian technology demonstration satellite, and Ecuador's first satellite launched to space. Built by the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (EXA), it is a nanosatellite of the single-unit CubeSat class.[5] The spacecraft's instruments include a dual visible and infrared camera which allows the spacecraft to take pictures and transmit live video from space.

NEE-01 Pegaso
NEE-01 Pegaso - 02.JPG
Mission typeTechnology demonstration
Operator Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency
COSPAR ID2013-018B
SATCAT no.39151
Mission durationDesign: 1 year
Elapsed: 6 years, 5 months, 23 days
Orbits completed18,218[1]
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type1U CubeSat
ManufacturerEcuadorian Civilian Space Agency
Launch mass1.266 kg (2.79 lb)[2]
Dimensions10×10×75 cm (3.9×3.9×29.5 in)[3]
Power107 watts maximum[4]
Start of mission
Launch date26 April 2013, 04:13 (2013-04-26UTC04:13) UTC
RocketLong March 2D
Launch siteJiuquan LA-4/SLS-2
Entered service5 May 2013
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Semi-major axis7,008.94 km (4,355.15 mi)[1]
Perigee altitude619.48 km (384.93 mi)[1]
Apogee altitude642.12 km (398.99 mi)[1]
Inclination97.9954 degrees[1]
Period97.33 minutes[1]
Mean motion14.79[1]
Epoch10 September 2016, 11:18:12 UTC[1]

Construction and launchEdit

After the completion of its HERMES-A ground station in April 2010, EXA authorised the construction of Ecuador's first satellite.[3] A number of restrictions and demands were imposed on the project: EXA was solely responsible for the spacecraft design and technology research, all construction had to take place within Ecuador, the project must be "future-enabling" and result in a technological breakthrough, and its mission must be educational in nature.[4] The completed Pegaso was presented to the public on 4 April 2011.[5] All research and construction of the satellite was performed by Ecuadorian personnel at a cost of US$30,000. Funding for testing and launch services was provided by the Ecuadorian Defense Ministry.[4]

While originally planned to be orbited by a Russian Dnepr, delays with the rocket forced EXA to move the satellite's launch to China.[6] Pegaso was eventually launched as a secondary payload aboard a Chinese Long March 2D from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center's SLS Pad 2 on 26 April 2013, 04:13 UTC.[7][8] It was placed into an elliptical orbit around Earth of approximately 600 by 900 kilometres (370 by 560 mi).[9]

Mission and spacecraft systemsEdit

The primary objective of Pegaso was to operate in space and transmit spacecraft telemetry for at least one year. In that time, it was intended to test various on-board systems and technologies, as well as serve as an educational tool for grade school students and undergraduates.[4]

Mosaic of images from Pegaso's first publicly released video

The satellite's primary instrument is a 720p HD camera, provided by EarthCam, capable of recording in both visible and infrared light.[3][9] This video, along with telemetry and other data, was broadcast from the spacecraft to the HERMES-A ground station via a three-watt television transmitter.[3] It was meant to allow the public to view live video of the Earth from orbit and give researchers the capability to search for near-Earth objects.[9][10]

To protect against damaging environmental factors, Pegaso employs the Space Environment Attenuation Manifold (SEAM/NEMEA), a multi-layer polymer insulation which is designed to block alpha and beta particles, X-ray and gamma radiation, and up to 67% of incoming heat. The insulation additionally provides the spacecraft some degree of protection against EMP and plasma discharge events, and allows Pegaso to retain heat during orbital night.[11] Further thermal control is obtained with a thin sheet of carbon nanotubes layered over a heat-reflecting surface, which helps to equalise the temperature throughout the vehicle.[4]

The spacecraft's solar panels, at 1.5 millimetres (0.059 in) thick, are among the thinnest ever deployed on a satellite.[9] Pegaso's 57 solar cells are capable of generating 14.25 watts[12] and feed 32 on-board 900mA·h batteries, producing a maximum of 107 watts available power.[4][13] The solar panel and antenna deployment systems made use of memory metals, passively activated by solar radiation, which allowed for smoother deployment and less agitation of the vehicle's attitude.[4]

For passive attitude control, Pegaso uses a series of magnets and inertial-magnetic dampers for single-axis alignment along Earth's magnetic field.[4]

Collision with debrisEdit

Apparent lossEdit

The satellite operated normally[10] until 23 May 2013; at approximately 05:38 UTC, Pegaso passed very close to the spent upper stage of a 1985 Tsyklon-3 rocket over the Indian Ocean. While there was no direct collision between the satellite and upper stage, Pegaso is believed to have suffered a "glancing blow" after passing through a debris cloud around the Tsyklon stage and striking one of the small pieces.[14][15] After the incident, the satellite was found to be "spinning wildly over two of its axes" and unable to communicate with its ground station.[14] While efforts were made to reestablish control of Pegaso,[15] on 28 August 2013 the decision was made by EXA and the Ecuadorian government to declare the satellite as lost.[16]


On 25 January 2014, EXA recovered the audio segment of the Pegaso signal during the first public transmission from NEE-02 Krysaor, verifying that Pegaso had survived its collision with the Tsyklon debris and was operating.[17] EXA announced that it had installed a miniature repeater device aboard Krysaor called PERSEUS, and that this was used to recover the Pegaso signal.[18][19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "NEE 01 Pegasus - Orbit". Heavens Above. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  2. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (25 April 2013). "China back in action with Long March 2D launch of Gaofen-1". NASA Spaceflight. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "NEE-01 Pegasus (Ecuadorian Space Ship-01, a CubeSat Mission)". European Space Agency. 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Nader, Ronnie; Carrion, Hector; Drouet, Sidney; Uriguen, Manuel; Allu, Ricardo (2011). NEE-01 Pegasus: The First Ecuadorian Satellite. 62nd International Astronautical Congress. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Ecuadorian Space Agency Unveils Ecuador's First Satellite" (Press release). Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency. 4 April 2011. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Ecuadorian Satellites Passed All Tests and Are Now Approved For Spaceflight" (Press release). Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  7. ^ Krebs, Gunter (24 May 2013). "NEE 01 Pegaso". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  8. ^ Clark, Stephen (26 April 2013). "Four satellites launched on China's Long March rocket". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d Steadman, Ian (26 April 2013). "Ecuador launches its first satellite, has webcam, will search for asteroids". Wired UK. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Pegaso Transmite Primeras Imágenes". Teleamazonas via 16 May 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  11. ^ Nader, Ronnie (2011). SEAM/NEMEA: The Space Environment Attenuation Manifold Shield for Nanosatellites. 62nd International Astronautical Congress. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  12. ^ Nader, Ronnie (2011). Ultra-thin, Deployable, Multipanel Solar Arrays For 1U CubeSats. 62nd International Astronautical Congress. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  13. ^ Nader, Ronnie; Uriguen, Manuel (2011). High Energy Density Multi Cell Battery Array For Nanosatellites. 62nd International Astronautical Congress. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Satellite collides with Soviet-era rocket". Al Jazeera. 24 May 2013. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Ecuador tries to fix satellite after space debris crash". BBC News. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Pegasus satellite was declared 'lost' by EXA". Ecuador Times. 5 September 2013. Archived from the original on 15 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Ecuador receives South America images, recovers lost satellite signal". Fox News Latino. Agencia EFE. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  18. ^ "EXA recuperó a Pegaso y su gemelo ya transmite video". El Comercio (in Spanish). 25 January 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Brief History of the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency". Archived from the original on 9 March 2014.

External linksEdit

  Media related to NEE-01 Pegaso at Wikimedia Commons