The August landing of NASA’s 1-ton Curiosity rover on Mars and the compromise that averted a Franco-German showdown over launcher strategy at the November meeting of European Space Agency ministers highlighted a year that provided the usual share of ups and downs for the global space community.
Lowlights include continuing budgetary turmoil in the United States and Europe, and two mishaps for the Russian Proton rocket that is one of two primary launchers in the commercial market.
One of the surprises of the year came toward the end, when North Korea successfully launched a satellite into orbit for the first time. This came after a failed attempt in April.
The year also saw the passing of some well-known figures in the space industry, most notably Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride. They will all be missed.
— The Editor