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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.

Updated 32 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

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