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Ecuador writes off ill-fated satellite


Quito, Sep 6 (EFE).- Ecuador's EXA space agency said it has given up trying to recover signals from the Andean nation's first satellite, which went silent after a brush with space debris.

Participants in an Aug. 28 meeting among officials of the space agency, security ministry and State Intelligence Directorate agreed to terminate efforts to re-establish contact with the Pegaso NEE-001, EXA said in a statement.

Pegaso, a cube weighing just 2.1 kilos (4.6 pounds), was placed in orbit April 26 and began transmitting video on May 16, providing overhead views of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

The nano-satellite was launched from China's Jiuquan space center.

The device stopped emitting signals on May 23, when it was side-swiped by floating debris from a Russian rocket launched in 1985.

After pinpointing Pegaso and determining that the satellite's protective casing was intact, EXA began working to recover the signal.

"To date, that operation has not produced the expected results, so EXA has presented the appropriate claim to the insurance company, which has accepted it and gone forward with the corresponding payment," the space agency said.

The insurance payment enabled Ecuador to recoup the nearly $800,000 invested in building and launching the Pegaso, EXA said.

EXA and other elements of Ecuador's government also gained valuable knowledge from the experience of dealing with the collision and trying to restore the signal, according to the statement.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa will announce soon a date for the launch of Pegaso's twin, the Krysaor, from Russia, EXA said.