Until space travel is available, we can ride virtually onboard Ecuador’s first satellite

ecuador launches first satellite with earthcam streaming video camera onboard nee 01 pegaso 1
Note: Click here to view the webcam.

Ecuador is known for its UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the Galapagos Islands, but you probably didn’t realize this small South American country also boasts a space agency. The Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency (EXA) is a nonprofit, privately funded organization established in 2007 to promote research and education. While it can’t compare to the mega space agencies of the U.S., Russia, Europe, and China, EXA will make some history tonight when it launches the NEE-01 Pegaso, the country’s first satellite.

Designed and built entirely in Ecuador, the small satellite will orbit approximately 400 miles above the planet. Named after the winged horse of Greek mythology, Pegasus, the satellite will be used for scientific research, education, and technology demonstration, as well as to help detect near-Earth objects.

ecuador launches first satellite with earthcam streaming video camera onboard nee 01 pegaso 3
The engineering team and Ecuador’s first astronaut, Ronnie Nader (center), pose for a family portrait with the Pegaso.

For the rest of us, there’s a visual treat in store. EXA has partnered with EarthCam to mount a live streaming camera on the satellite that users can tap into from the Web. EarthCam is a New Jersey-based company that provides webcam content and services to companies and government agencies for monitoring purposes; their Earthcam.com network of global webcams let you visit sites like Times Square as a virtual tourist, and soon you can add outer space to the list of places (befitting the company’s name). Once the satellite is in orbit, viewers will be able to log on and view the Earth and beyond. (EXA had started an Indiegogo campaign last year to help raise funds for the video-streaming component, but it seems they had raised only $1,125 of the $450,000 goal; we are assuming EarthCam helped fund the rest.)

ecuador launches first satellite with earthcam streaming video camera onboard nee 01 pegaso 2
An example of what viewers might see from the EarthCam streaming camera onboard the Pegaso.

The satellite’s launch is scheduled for April 26, 12:13 a.m. ET, weather permitting. Viewers will be able to watch the blast-off from Beijing via Earthcam.com and EXA’s website. You can read the original press release about the project here, and view videos about the satellite at the Indiegogo page.

(Images via EXA and EarthCam)

Smart Home

Try IoT before you buy IoT: Google, B8ta let you ‘test drive’ smart home tech

Google has partnered with the startup B8ta to let customers try out smart home technology in a retail space arranged like a real home. This lets customers get a better feel for how the technology works.
Cars

Tesla’s referral program lets owners send laser-etched photos into space

Tesla has a referral program that provides its loyal owners who recommend the company's cars to others with rewards. The latest offer: Tesla will laser-etch a photo of the owner's choosing and shoot it into space.
Emerging Tech

Ultra-bright LEDs give us a glimpse of all that space junk orbiting Earth

How do you make people aware of the problem of space junk orbiting the Earth? According to artist Daan Roosegaarde, the answer is simple: By shooting ultra-bright LED beams into the sky.
Emerging Tech

Space tourism: Virgin Galactic ‘weeks’ away from first test flights in space

Virgin Galactic chairman Richard Branson said this week that the first commercial flight for its space tourism service should be coming "in months and not years." A seat on the spacecraft costs a wallet-melting $250,000.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

Photography News: Raw edits on iPad and an A.I. research lab for PicsArt

In this week's photography news, Canon launched an iPad app that allows for RAW edits on the go. Popular mobile editing app PicsArt now has a research lab dedicated entirely to A.I.-powered tools.
Photography

Adobe MAX 2018: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
News

Kodak’s ‘Digitizing Box’ service saves precious memories stuck on old media

If you've been meaning to convert your old family photos, videotapes, films, and audio recordings to digital but never seem to get around to it, then a new service from Kodak may prompt you to add it to your "to-do" list again.
Photography

You can finally throw away your PC; Photoshop is coming to the iPad

A full version of Photoshop is coming to the iPad -- and soon, other tablets, as well. Adobe also launched several new features for Photoshop and Lightroom, including a new Content-Aware Fill tool.
Photography

Adobe’s Premiere Rush is a video-editing app designed for social media projects

At Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe unveiled updates across the board for all of its Creative Cloud apps, from the release of Premiere Rush CC, a social-focused video editor, to Project Gemini, a digital drawing and painting tool.
Photography

Sony crammed 28x zoom, 4K into a $450 camera that weighs as much as a smartphone

The Sony HX99 is a tiny compact camera that mixes 4K and fast burst speeds with a 28x optical zoom. The travel zoom camera upgrades the processor over the earlier model for better video and super-long-burst captures.