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SpaceNews 2012 | The Year in Review: October

Proton launch of IS-23 satellite. Credit: ILS photo

Russia’s Proton Breeze-M rocket returns to flight just two months after a failure, successfully placing the Intelsat IS-23 satellite into orbit.

China and Europe remain at odds over the use of frequencies for their respective navigation satellite systems, Beidou and Galileo. China is using frequencies that overlay Galileo’s encrypted PRS signals. The two sides agree to meet in December to discuss further.

During an otherwise successful cargo delivery mission to the space station, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has an engine anomaly that leaves it unable to place a satellite owned by Orbcomm into its proper orbit.

Orbital’s first Antares rocket safely rides out Hurricane Sandy at its launch pad on Wallops Island, Va.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs a six-month continuing resolution that freezes government spending at 2012 levels through at least March 2013.

SES and Eutelsat battle over rights to 500 megahertz of spectrum at 28.2 degrees and 28.5 degrees west. SES says it is taking over the spectrum as of October 2013. Eutelsat says this breaks a deal the two companies had. Arbitration proceedings have begun.

The U.S. Air Force orders an investigation of an upper-stage performance glitch aboard a ULA Delta 4 rocket that occurred during the successful launch of a GPS satellite. Several upcoming launches are delayed as a result.

Europe’s 2016 ExoMars lander will not be fitted with a Russian nuclear battery because of technology export roadblocks in Russia. The result is that the lander will remain active for about a week, rather than two years.

Italy agrees to be the licensing authority for the UHF-band payload aboard Intelsat’s IS-27 satellite, scheduled for launch in 2013. Intelsat has been unable to find a U.S. military customer for the payload.

The U.S. Air Force says it will not seek funding in 2014 to continue work on a reusable launch vehicle prototype dubbed RSB Pathfinder.

Eutelsat drops Iranian television channels from its lineup following indications that the EU and French government embargo on dealings with Iran include satellite broadcasts.

More than 500 pieces of space debris are created when the Breeze-M upper stage from the failed Proton rocket launch in August explodes in orbit.

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter signs a space policy document that declares that deliberate interference with space systems relied upon by the Pentagon will be considered “escalatory” if it occurs during a crisis.

Europe’s next batch of Galileo satellites face launch delays as a software issue is investigated. The satellites were expected to start launching in the spring.

Iridium says 25 percent of terrestrial cellular towers in the 10 U.S. states hit by Hurricane Sandy were knocked out — an argument in favor of satellite phones even in highly developed regions.

Space debris experts say the global space industry risks being shut down in this century unless more is done to remove large dead objects from heavily used orbits.

Suborbital space tourism firm Virgin Galactic takes full ownership of the Spaceship Company, builder of the vehicle that will take paying customers to the edge of space.

The Canadian Space Agency confirms that the first satellite in its three-satellite Radarsat Constellation Mission for Earth observation will not launch until after April 2016. The satellite had been expected to launch in 2014.

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