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Earth from space by night. Photo: NASA

The U.S. Space Force has awarded United Launch Alliance and SpaceX hundreds of millions of dollars to fly national security payloads to space in the coming years.

Why it matters: The money provided by these competitive government contracts keeps space companies in business and flying to orbit regularly.

Details: ULA will receive the bulk of the funds, with $337 million going to the company for two missions expected to launch in 2022.

  • SpaceX will receive $316 million for one mission launching in 2022.
  • It's not yet clear what the nature of these missions will be.
  • "We're excited about the new technology that's being brought into launch," William Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said during a press call. "We don't think this is the last round of innovation that we're going to see."

The big picture: SpaceX and ULA weren't the only companies competing for this award. Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman also put in bids but didn't receive funds in this round.

  • This type of government money is particularly important for space companies right now as the coronavirus pandemic has caused some other sources of business to contract.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Nov 10, 2020 - Science

How to watch SpaceX's next crewed launch

From left to right: Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Saturday's SpaceX launch will bring a fresh crew of astronauts to the International Space Station and kick off what are expected to be regular crewed SpaceX missions to orbit for NASA.

Why it matters: This will be SpaceX's second crewed flight and its first operational mission after a successful test flight in May brought astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the station.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
46 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Pipeline hack spotlights cyber risks to energy systems

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline — the massive East Coast gasoline artery — is a stunning real-world example of the increasing risks that the energy sector faces from a cyberattack.

Why it matters: Different parts of the vast American energy system are vulnerable — from pipelines to power grids to individual power plants and plenty in between.

49 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: TikTok launching jobs service for Gen Z

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok is testing a tool for brands to recruit employees, sources tell Axios.

Details: The pilot program is designed to help people find jobs on TikTok and connect with companies looking to find candidates. It's also meant to help brands use TikTok as a recruitment channel.

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