2013 Year in Review | October

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Dream Chaser, the mini-shuttle Sierra Nevada is working on under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, ends an otherwise successful drop-test with a crash blamed on faulty landing gear.

SES partners with satellite builder OHB of Germany and ESA to develop an all-electric satellite design for the commercial telecommunications market.

A Raytheon-built SM-3 Block 1B destroys a medium-range target missile, clearing the way for full-rate production of the interceptor.

The partial U.S. government shutdown locks Lockheed Martin and NASA personnel out of the Kennedy Space Center, slowing work on the deep-space Orion capsule. Another Lockheed-led program, the Mars MAVEN probe, gets special dispensation to continue preparations for its November launch.

An anomaly in a digital timing unit grounds planned launches of O3b Networks’ next four satellites, and Europe’s Gaia star-mapping satellite, both aboard Europeanized Soyuz rockets. Gaia is rescheduled for December.

The launch of the GPS 2F-5 satellite is delayed because of new information stemming from the investigation into an engine issue during a Delta 4 launch in 2012.

The European Commission threatens financial penalties on industry, and maybe on ESA, because of delays in launch of the Galileo navigation satellite constellation.

The movie “Gravity” hits theaters, and while space officials question the physics depicted in the film, they use its popularity as an entry point to discuss the growing space debris hazard.

A top U.S. Air Force acquisition official tells the House that the delay in awarding a contract for the service’s next-generation Space Fence will add more than $70 million to its cost.

NASA announces plans to fly Total Solar Irradiance Sensors, which take measurements crucial to maintaining a long-running Earth-climate record, as hosted payloads aboard geostationary communications satellites.

Work resumes on a Sicilian ground station for the U.S. Navy’s MUOS satellite system. Construction had been halted by protests over health concerns.

ESA, in a first, agrees to sell one of its satellites, the aging Artemis data-relay spacecraft and its orbital rights, to Avanti of London.