NEE-01 Pegaso

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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: 5 years, 9 months, 21 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]
Perigee619.48 km (384.93 mi)[1]
Apogee642.12 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]

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.

Construction and launch[edit]

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 systems[edit]

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]

Mosiac 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 debris[edit]

Apparent loss[edit]

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 also[edit]


  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 links[edit]

Media related to NEE-01 Pegaso at Wikimedia Commons