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SpaceNews 2012 | The Year in Review: August

Neil Armstrong. Credit: NASA photo

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, dies of complications arising from cardiac bypass surgery at age 82.

NASA’s Curiosity rover, the centerpiece of the agency’s $2.5 billion flagship Mars Science Laboratory mission, touches down at the Gale Crater on Mars.

A Proton Breeze-M rocket suffers an upper-stage failure, the second in 12 months, placing Russian and Indonesian telecom satellites in useless orbits. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev calls for an overhaul of Russia’s space agency.

Eight companies are selected to provide managed satellite telecom solutions to the Pentagon and other U.S. agencies under the Future Comsatcom Services Acquisition program. The contracts are potentially worth $2.6 billion combined.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finalizes contracts worth $655 million combined for its next polar-orbiting weather satellite.

Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket launches Intelsat’s IS-20 and Avanti’s Hylas 2 satellites in the 50th consecutive success for the vehicle.

The two principal manufacturers of satellite traveling wave tubes, Thales Electron Devices of Europe and L-3 Communications Electron Technologies of California, issue calls for standardization among satellite manufacturers to ease a supply bottleneck in Ka-band tubes.

The U.S. Air Force’s Space Based Space Surveillance satellite is declared operational nearly two years after being launched and more than 13 months later than planned after data and sensor issues are resolved.

U.S. lawmakers urge the Air Force to limit a planned bulk purchase of EELV rockets to give new entrants a better chance to compete in the national security launch market.

President Barack Obama taps U.S. Navy Rear Adm. James Syring as the next director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Orbital Sciences Corp. commits to 10 launches of its yet-to-fly Antares rocket from the Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

NASA’s experimental Morpheus vertical-takeoff-and-landing rocket explodes during a test at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The National Research Council releases its 10-year roadmap for NASA’s heliophysics program calling for greater emphasis on more-affordable missions.

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