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A Falcon Heavy rocket launch in June. Photo: SpaceX

Four companies — SpaceX, Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Northrop Grumman — have submitted proposals to become 1 of 2 launch providers for the U.S. Air Force from 2022 to 2026.

Why it matters: Launching commercial and government payloads to orbit is a competitive business, and locking in billions of dollars in revenue from the Air Force would be a huge win for any of these companies.

  • In 2020, the Air Force plans to pick 2 companies that will likely split dozens of national security launches 60/40.

The intrigue: All 4 companies have submitted their bids to the Air Force, but the fight to get to this point has been a long one, and it's not over yet.

  • Blue Origin filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office on Monday, saying that the Air Force competition favors the companies that have already flown national security missions like SpaceX and ULA and harms competition.
  • SpaceX has sued the U.S. government, claiming that the company was unfairly denied a share of a multimillion dollar award that the other 3 companies received from the Air Force, potentially putting SpaceX at a disadvantage.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
47 mins ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

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