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SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket makes a successful launch from Cape Canaveral. Photo: NASA via Getty Images)

The British government is preparing to launch its first commercial rocket from the country by 2021, and has upped its funding and partnerships with American companies to do so, reports CNBC.

The details: Lockheed Martin has already been allotted the largest chunk of UKSA's (United Kingdom Space Agency) funding, receiving over $30 million "to develop an orbital launch site for small rockets in Melness, Scotland." The company told CNBC, "[t]he launcher will be a flight-proven, dedicated small sat vehicle." Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit also locked in a deal with UKSA "to launch its LauncherOne rocket from Cosmic Girl," and plans to be the first to launch a commercial rocket from the island in the next three years.

The big picture: England owns 6.5% of the small satellite manufacturing business, more than any other country, and produces around 44% of all small satellites, according to CNBC.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.