2013 Year in Review | February

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Proton rocket maker Khrunichev cites overheated fuel oxidizer as the cause of the December failure of the vehicle, which was carrying the Yamal-402 telecommunications satellite.

NASA launches Landsat 8, the latest in series of U.S. civil land observing satellites dating back to 1972.

Mitsubishi Electric is reinstated as a Japanese government contractor after making restitution for overcharging the government for military and space work.

A ship-launched Standard Missile-3 destroys a medium-range ballistic missile in a test that marked the first time data from the Space Tracking and Surveillance System Demonstrator satellites were used to calculate a firing solution for an interceptor.

NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden denies accusations by two U.S. lawmakers that political pressure prevented federal authorities from prosecuting alleged export-law violations at the facility.

Russia seeks German government permission to purchase two radar reconnaissance satellites from Astrium GmbH.

NASA says it cannot find the root cause of a fairing-separation failure on the Taurus XL rocket that caused the loss of the agency’s Glory climate monitoring satellite. Taurus XL maker Orbital Sciences commits to a more vigorous quality assurance program for fairing-separation components.

An Indian rocket successfully launches the Indo-French Saral environmental satellite along with six secondary payloads.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office says SM-3 Block 2B interceptors launched from Romania would have difficulty engaging Iranian ICBMs launched at the United States because of unspecified “flight path” issues.

Robert Strain, former director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, becomes chief executive of contractor Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., replacing the retiring David Taylor.

NASA acknowledges that, due to budget pressure, a test of Orion’s launch-abort system will not take place until after the capsule’s first flight to lunar space in 2017.

The European Commission calls for a European space situational awareness program using ground-based sensors already operated by individual countries.

Satellite fleet operator ArabSat purchases Greek operator HellasSat for $281 million.

Former CNES President Andre Lebeau dies at 80.

NASA shifts its $600 million technology development portfolio from its chief technologist to a newly created Space Technology Mission Directorate led by Michael Gazarik. 

A meteorite, caught on camera, disintegrates with explosive force above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, blasting out windows and reinvigorating debate within the U.S. Congress about protecting the Earth from larger space rocks.

The GAO says averting a potential gap in weather satellite coverage is a top priority for Congress and the White House.

The U.S. Air Force unveils plan to deal with the sequestration budget cuts that includes delaying the purchase of missile warning satellites and scaling back space surveillance efforts.