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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.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
13 mins ago - Health

Overturning Roe could strain abortion access even in blue states

The Supreme Court is reflected in a woman's sunglasses during a march Oct. 2. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions could be harder to access even in states where they remain legal, because those clinics could be flooded with patients from states that have cracked down.

The big picture: This has happened before, and clinics fear the crush of demand would be a major problem in the immediate wake of a decision that would allow states to ban abortion.

A critical race theory founder says he's being inundated with threats

Richard Delgado. Photo: Courtesy of Richard Delgado

Richard Delgado, one of the founders of the critical race theory movement, tells Axios he and his wife have been receiving a steady stream of threatening messages since the coordinated, conservative campaign against critical race theory began.

Why it matters: Educators across the country — even some elementary school teachers — have faced harassment and threats over the past year over lesson plans that teach about system racism in the U.S.

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