SpaceNews 2012 | The Year in Review: July

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Astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, dies of pancreatic cancer.

U.S. Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, asks the Army to investigate whether Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, the embattled director of the Missile Defense Agency, misled the panel about morale at the agency.

Imaging satellite operators DigitalGlobe and GeoEye sign a merger agreement with the expectation that the deal will close by the end of the year.

Boeing wins a U.S. Air Force contract to boost capacity of the eighth and ninth Wideband Global Satcom communications satellites it has under contract.

GenCorp, the parent company of Aerojet, announces it will buy Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne for $550 million. 

U.S. lawmakers announce agreement on a so-called continuing resolution that will fund the federal government at 2012 levels for the first six months of fiscal year 2013.

The Italian Defense Ministry purchases an Israeli high-resolution optical imaging satellite as part of an offset package in exchange for Israel’s purchase of Italian trainer aircraft. The deal illustrates the lack of coordination among European nations on space-based reconnaissance.

ViaSat Inc. wins a $286 million contract to provide Australia’s NBN Co. with ground infrastructure for Australia’s ambitious national broadband program.

Pentagon acquisition czar Frank Kendall attributes cost growth on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program to a convoluted contracting structure that provides little incentive to keep costs down.

Comtech Telecommunications informs employees of its Comtech AeroAstro subsidiary that it will be closing down the small satellite manufacturer by the end of August.

Eutelsat says it has suffered apparently intentional interference to its Eutelsat 25A satellite over the Middle East and complains, along with the French government, to the International Telecommunication Union. The satellite is at the center of a dispute between Eutelsat and Arabsat involving frequencies that Arabsat has leased to Iran.

NASA orders three of the five remaining Delta 2 rockets in United Launch Alliance inventory to launch Earth observing satellites.

Harris CapRock and Astrium Services join forces to provide UHF satellite capacity to U.S. government customers.

NASA says it has lost its ride to orbit for the Icesat-2 environmental monitoring satellite, which had tentatively been slated to share a rocket with an Air Force weather craft whose launch was deferred.

NASA says it will split $200 million among four companies developing rocket boosters for the planned heavy-lift Space Launch System.

SpaceNews announces a change of ownership.