Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A Falcon Heavy's engines ignite. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket just launched for the third time, lofting 24 payloads for the Air Force, NASA, NOAA and a variety of universities to orbit as part of a rocket ride share.

Why it matters: Ahead of the launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in a tweet that this Falcon Heavy launch would be the "most difficult launch ever." If those stakes weren't high enough, this also marked the first time the Air Force has flown its wares to space aboard a Falcon Heavy.

The Falcon Heavy’s 2 side boosters — which have both been flown on a previous Falcon Heavy launch — landed back on land, while the core booster just missed a waiting drone ship off the Florida coast in the Atlantic Ocean.

Details: The two-dozen spacecraft loaded into the Falcon Heavy were designed for a number of technology demonstrations and experiments. Some of the more notable spacecraft include:

  • The Planetary Society's LightSail 2, which will be unfurled in July and, if all goes according to plan, should use its light sail to maneuver through space on the force of the Sun's photons.
  • COSMIC-2, a clutch of six spacecraft that, once up and running, are expected to improve weather prediction computer models on short time scales, making hurricane and extreme weather prediction more accurate.
  • NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock, a technology demonstration which is designed to prove out tech that could one day be used to help astronauts navigate on Mars.
  • DSX, operated the Air Force, is designed to gather data about the space environment in its orbit, helping researchers figure out how to best protect future spacecraft from space weather.

Background: This was a big launch for SpaceX not only because of the payloads flying to space, but due to the implications of the flight on Earth.

  • SpaceX is currently competing to be chosen as one of two companies that the Air Force taps to launch expensive national security payloads to orbit through the 2020s.
  • The company recently sued the U.S. government, protesting an earlier monetary award given to Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance, which are all competing with SpaceX for the contract as well.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.