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SpaceX deploys a satellite this morning. Photo: SpaceX

Early Monday, Musk's SpaceX launched its 16th rocket of the year. The first stage fell away and landed flawlessly on a drone ship in the Atlantic, reports ArsTechnica's Eric Berger, while the rocket went on to deploy a satellite in orbit (see above).

The big questions: Space is rapidly becoming internationally commercialized by governments and companies, particularly in the U.K., India, China, Russia, Israel and the U.S. But, how will they protect the trillions of dollars in assets going up? What happens if one country or company decides that another's actions or its stuff are a threat, and attacks?

And there is much to attack. Already, the valuation of big companies depend on space assets. What is Uber, for instance, without GPS, asks Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist whose new book, out tomorrow, is called "Accessory to War." He tells Axios:

"A rogue player can go up and shoot out our satellites and now we are running blind without GPS."
"So we would then say we need to protect those assets. This is no different than protecting your war supply on the ground. It's just now the regime is space instead of Earth's surface."

This explains the Space Force proposed by President Trump. According to Tyson, it does not suggest controlling access to space, but protecting assets.

"Control of space doesn't mean that I have a gate through which everyone must pass," he says. "That's normally what we think of patrol as that, but that's not what military control means. It means that I have the power to defend myself."

The bottom line: "In the end, this can all go off peacefully," concludes Tyson — as long as you are not posing a threat to someone's stuff. He points back to the age of exploration.

"It's not different than a seafaring nation that they have ships — England, Portugal, France, Spain — and occasionally they had conflicts. But basically everyone is going everywhere in the world on the ocean."
"And if we have space-faring nations, they are going to want to go places. I don't have any problem with that. It's a big universe."

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Saudi dissident claims MBS said he could get "poison ring" to kill king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, via video link, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former senior Saudi intelligence official who worked with the U.S. on counterterrorism alleged to "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed in 2014 killing the kingdom's then-monarch.

Why it matters: The claim by the exiled Saad al-Jabri, whom Saudi authorities describe as "a discredited former government official," that the crown prince, known as "MBS," allegedly said he could obtain a "ring from Russia" to carry out the attack, is one of several serious but unproven allegations he made on the CBS show.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.