2013 Year in Review | January

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A mockup of NASA’s Orion crew capsule and Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Bobak “Mohawk Guy” Ferdowsi join in re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade in Washington.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs into law a long-awaited export reform measure that paves the way for relaxed restrictions on space-related items.

A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket fails shortly after liftoff, destroying Intelsat’s IS-27 satellite carrying a UHF payload that the operator had hoped to lease to the Pentagon.

After months of uncertainty, the Canadian Space Agency awards MDA Corp. a $692 million contract for the three-satellite Radarsat Constellation Mission, slated to launch in 2018.

Component maker Moog purchases space avionics and software provider Broad Reach Engineering for $48 million.

NASA says debris from the on-orbit explosion of a Russian Proton rocket stage following a failed launch that occurred the year before poses a threat to satellites but not to the international space station.

The primary U.S. missile shield, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, passes a key flight test focusing on the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle Capability Enhancement 2, a crucial component that has proved problematic in the past. The test, held at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., moved the GMD one step closer to attempting to intercept ballistic missiles again.

The U.S. Department of Justice approves U.S. imaging satellite operator DigitalGlobe’s acquisition of one-time rival GeoEye.

Boeing, Exelis and the U.S. arm of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. begin work on research contracts worth $3.8 million in an effort to bolster the current GPS navigation constellation.

Yannick d’Escatha, longtime president of the French space agency, CNES, announces he will step down in March.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) begins his second stint as chairman of the House Science Committee, replacing Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), who stepped down because of GOP term limits.

The Boeing-built Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K, the first of NASA’s third-generation TDRS spacecraft that are used to communicate with satellites in Earth orbit, launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

The European Space Agency says it expects its budget to increase by 6.5 percent thanks to increased contributions from Britain and Italy and the addition of new members Poland and Romania.

After back-to-back failures, South Korea conducts its first successful space launch, placing a technology demonstration satellite into an elliptical orbit.

Japan launches a pair of reconnaissance satellites aboard an H-2A rocket.

ESA commits to providing a service module, based on the agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle, to power NASA’s Orion crew capsule for two missions beyond low Earth orbit.

NASA and Bigelow Aerospace ink an $18 million deal to test one of the company’s inflatable storage modules on the international space station.

Iran claims it launched a monkey to suborbital space and brought it back alive.

Rick Ambrose takes top job at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, succeeding the retiring Joanne Maguire, who led a huge run of competitive success for the company.