2013 Year in Review | December

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SpaceX, in its first launch for a major commercial operator, places the SES-8 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, a launch SES says will force the entire commercial launch business to change.

U.S. House and Senate leaders cobble together a compromise agreement for a defense authorization bill in an attempt to provide a framework for funding for 2014.

China launches a lander/rover mission to the Moon with tracking assistance from ESA

The U.S. Air Force decommissions an experimental missile warning sensor hosted aboard a commercial satellite after 27 months on orbit.

The NRO successfully launches a satellite and 12 experimental cubesats aboard a ULA Atlas 5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace sign construction and launch contracts for Brazil’s SGDC civil-military satellite, to be launched in 2016. Thales also signs a separate tech-transfer protocol with the Brazilian government.

The House approves a one-year extension of the U.S. commercial launch indemnity regime, but the bill gets hung up in the Senate, where lawmakers seek a three-year extension. 

NASA says IceSat-2, a priority Earth Science mission, appears likely to bust its $559 million development budget by a wide enough margin that Congress will have to be informed.