2013 Year in Review | November

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NASA’s MAVEN probe launches from Cape Canaveral on its way to Mars for a one-year study of the planet’s upper atmosphere. 

The U.S. Air Force successfully launches an experimental satellite and 28 secondary payloads aboard an Orbital Sciences Corp.-built Minotaur 1 rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Va.

MDA Corp. says the Canadian government, citing technology-export concerns, forbids the company from bidding in a Russian government radar satellite competition. Astrium and Thales Alenia Space of Europe are both bidding.

NASA halts development of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator, which was to be the agency’s next-generation, nuclear-powered battery for deep-space missions.

DARPA announces plans to award $14 million in contracts to study a reusable spaceplane that could debut in 2018 and boost payloads into low Earth orbit for less than $5 million.

India successfully launches its Mangalyaan Mars probe.

Republican U.S. lawmakers, upset by a Russian bid to place Glonass navigation satellite ground stations in the United States, propose a legislative ban on foreign satellite facilities on U.S. soil.

Mobile satellite services providers Orbcomm and Inmarsat, normally rivals, strike a partnership to create machine-to-machine equipment standards.

Launch services provider Arianespace contracts with ELV SpA of Italy to build 10 Vega small-satellite launchers.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approves legislation that recommends allowing U.S. firms to sell higher-resolution satellite imagery on the open market.

The British Ministry of Defence concludes that its demand for satellite bandwidth in 10 years will be higher than today even without a long-term military engagement like Iraq or Afghanistan.

NASA requests proposals for the fourth and final round of the Commercial Crew Program. This phase will include a crewed demonstration flight to the space station as early as 2015.

Blue Origin caps off an 11-month series of tests during which its liquid-hydrogen-fueled Blue Engine-3 was fired 160 times for a cumulative total of more than 2.5 hours. The engine will power the company’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle and, in a different configuration, the orbital launch vehicle the company is working on.

The first OHB-built Galileo satellite successfully concludes thermal-vacuum testing, raising the likelihood that the first pair will be launched in mid-2014.

NBC and Virgin Galactic announce the network’s “Today Show” will broadcast the inaugural SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourist flight, for which there is still no date.