SpaceNews 2012 | The Year in Review: May

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Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) successfully delivers the first cargo ever to be launched to the space station aboard a privately operated spacecraft. 

Imaging satellite operator GeoEye makes a bid to acquire rival DigitalGlobe after merger talks between the two companies collapse. The bid is rejected.

The U.S. Air Force’s second AEHF secure communications satellite is launched successfully aboard an Atlas 5 rocket.

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Members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee express skepticism about Pentagon plans for a constellation of missile tracking satellites.

The Intelsat IS-19 satellite suffers solar array damage following launch on a Sea Launch vehicle. Space Systems/Loral, the satellite’s builder, and Sea Launch create an independent panel to investigate.

An arbitration panel rules that Globalstar owes its prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, about $69 million in contract termination charges.

Europe selects a mission to Jupiter, for launch in 2022, as its next large space-science effort. The Jupiter Icy Moons, or Juice, mission is selected over two competitors that both needed substantial assistance from U.S. and Japanese partners.

The U.S. House passes a defense authorization bill that includes a provision to give the president the discretion to ease export restrictions on satellite technology.

A U.S.-Canadian space situational awareness data sharing agreement takes effect.

Intelsat files registration with the New York Stock Exchange for a $1.75 billion initial stock offering.

European Union ministers fail to agree on whether the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) Earth observation system should be part of the EU’s seven-year budget, to start in 2014.

A Japanese H-2A rocket successfully launches an environmental monitoring satellite for Japan and an imaging satellite for South Korea.

U.S. President Barack Obama threatens to veto a proposed defense bill over numerous provisions including ones relating to U.S. and European missile defense.

Harris CapRock files a bid protest after being knocked out of the competition to provide satellite telecom solutions to the U.S. Defense Department and other government agencies.

Suborbital space tourism company Virgin Galactic wins U.S. regulatory approval to begin testing its rocket-powered craft.

Congress passes legislation reauthorizing the U.S. Export-Import Bank for another three years.

A U.S. congressional panel recommends against funding a follow-on to the CHIRP hosted payload program.

A new flare-up of the dispute between Kazakhstan and Russia over rocket drop zones delays the launch of Europe’s Metop-B weather satellite.

U.S. President Barack Obama awards John Glenn, the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.