Ecuadorian CubeSat will monitor near-earth objects

Ecuadors first satellite NEE-01 Pegasus is slated to launch from Yasny this October on the same DNEPR rocket as the AMSAT-UK FUNcube-1.

NEE-01 Pegasus is a 1U CubeSat with two large (for a CubeSat) deployable solar panels and the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (EXA) indicates 28.8 amps can be generated. There is an onboard camera to send live video from space from a 3 watt TV transmitter in the 902 MHz band along with a beacon that will send an ID and Ecuador’s national anthem.

NEE-01 Pegasus LogoOn April 25, EXA announced that it will be adding a mission to NEE-01 Pegasus: It will help monitoring near-earth objects from orbit using its onboard 720p HD video camera and will also help in the catalog and control of orbital debris (space junk), this new mission will turn the NEE-01 in to the first online, real time orbital video sentry for the planet, as the satellite has the capability to stream its video signal directly to the Internet.

It is hoped NEE-01 Pegasus will be able to detect medium to small sized near-earth objects, like very small asteroids which are normally very difficult to detect but have enough mass to pose a threath to populated areas, like the one which exploded over California in April.

Astronaut Ronnie Nader and NEE-01 Pegasus model

Astronaut Ronnie Nader and NEE-01 Pegasus model

Another of the satellites objectives is to serve as a space platform for elementary education.

The satellite will send two signals that will be received and decoded by the EXA’s HERMES-A ground station in Guayaquil and then uploaded live to the Internet using Twitter and Facebook.

The first signal will contain text book questions and the second will contain an image related to the question. If the students are able to answer the question correctly they will be granted access to the video camera onboard the spacecraft and will be able to see earth from space as the astronauts see it in their space missions.

More advanced students will have access to the pure radio signal so they can try decoding it by themselves. The EXA will provide them with the appropriate support software free of charge.

EXA Press release

Ecuador’s first astronaut Ronnie Nader has been leading the team building the Cubesat

NEE-01 Pegasus