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A pair of Earth-observing cameras owned by Canada’s UrtheCast Corp. failed to perform as expected after their installation outside the international space station’s Zvezda module Dec. 27, prompting Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy to bring the hardware back inside the orbiting outpost while engineers on the ground work on a fix. Credit: NASA TV

Imaging satellite operator Skybox Imaging showcases video from SkySat-1, which was launched in November aboard a Russian Dnepr rocket. The video, of Tokyo from early December, is neither tuned nor calibrated. Credit: Skybox Imaging

ESA's Mars Express will make the closest flyby yet of the that planet's moon Phobos Dec. 29, 2013, passing just 45 kilometers above its surface. The animation is at 1000 times speed. Credit: European Space Agency

Expedition 38 astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins began the first of three planned spacewalks Dec. 21 to remove and replace a faulty coolant pump module on the international space station (ISS). The pump is associated with one of the station's two external cooling loops, which circulate ammonia outside the station to keep the internal and external equipment cool.

Engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) perform the third free-flight test of the experimental Morpheus lander. The craft that flew Dec. 10 is the second Morpheus ever to fly without a tether. The first was destroyed in an Aug. 9 test, which also took place at KSC. Credit: NASA Kennedy

DARPA's Space Surveillance Telescope (SST) seeks to enable much faster discovery and tracking of previously unseen, hard-to-find small objects in geosynchronous orbits. The SST will soon move from its current mountaintop location in New Mexico, where the system underwent operational testing and evaluation, to Australia, where it will provide key space situational awareness from the southern hemisphere—an area of the geosynchronous belt that is still largely unexplored. Credit: DARPA

China's lunar probe Chang'e 3 landing on the Moon. Credit: China Network Television via SpaceVidsNet

Inmarsat-5 F1 has been reported healthy in orbit and sending signals to ground stations. Credit: ILS courtesy of SpaceVidsnet

Blue Origin’s BE-3 engine test. Credit: NASA

Comet ISON, which began its journey from the Oort Cloud some 3 million years ago, made its closest approach to the sun on Nov. 28, 2013. The comet was visible in instruments on NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, and the joint European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO. Credit: NASA


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