RESULTS: Virginia voters select Terry McAuliffe as the Democratic nominee for governor

Terry MacAuliffe
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) speaks to supporters while campaigning June 4, 2021 in Charlottesville, Virginia. McAuliffe, who previously served as governor from 2014-2018, is seeking a second term as Virginia holds its Democratic primary next Tuesday.

  • Virginia is holding Democratic primaries for key statewide offices on Tuesday.
  • Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe easily clinched the nomination for his old office.
  • Polls in Virginia closed at 7 p.m. ET.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Virginia voters are casting their ballots for June 8th’s Democratic primaries for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. Polls closed at 7 p.m. ET.

Governors can only serve one term at a time under the Virginia constitution, meaning current Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam can’t run for a second consecutive term.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe easily clinch the Democratic nomination for the governorship, which he previously held before Northam from 2014 to 2018.

The latest poll of the primary, conducted by Roanoke College, found McAuliffe leading the field by a wide margin. The poll, conducted from May 24 to June 1, surveyed 637 likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of ±3.9 points.

In the survey, 49% of likely Democratic voters said they had already voted or planned to vote for McAuliffe, 16% for House Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, 11% for Del. Jennifer McClellan, and 27% undecided. Two other candidates, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Del. Lee Carter, polled in the single digits.

McAuliffe will face businessman Glenn Youngkin, who was chosen as the GOP nominee by a select number of party members in a May 8 ranked-choice party convention, with delegates casting their votes at locations around the state.

Virginia Republicans, who opted for the convention format over a traditional primary, selected Youngkin over two GOP members of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox and Amanda Chase, and entrepreneur Pete Snyder.

McAuliffe is favored by election analysts to defeat Youngkin in the November general election in Virginia, which has trended from a swing state to solidly Democratic territory over the past two decades. The Virginia governor’s race is currently rated as “likely Democratic” by Inside Elections and the Cook Political Report, and as “leans Democratic” by the Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Historically, however, Virginia gubernatorial elections have tended to be more difficult for the party that won the presidential election the prior year, so Democrats aren’t guaranteed a win.

The outcome of the open Democratic primary for lieutenant governor is far less certain. The Roanoke poll found that 45% of voters polled were undecided, with 16% supporting Democratic Del. Hala Ayala, 11% supporting Del. Sam Rasoul, also a Democrat, and the rest of the candidates polling in the single digits.

In the race for attorney general, Democratic incumbent Mark Herring faces a primary challenge from Del. Jerrauld “Jay” Jones, a fellow Democrat. The Roanoke College poll found that 50% of voters had voted for or planned to vote for Herring with 20% for Jones and 28% of voters undecided.

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The best Amazon Prime Day 2021 early deals on robot vacuums, cordless vacuums, and upright vacuums

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prime day 2021 best corded cordless robot vacuum deals
Cordless vacuums from brands like Shark and Hoover always go on sale during Prime Day.

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is happening from June 21 through June 22 and if you’re in the market for a vacuum, it’s a good idea to hold out until then to buy a new one. Every year, the sales event features significant deals on robot vacuums, upright vacuums, cordless stick vacuums, and handheld vacuums.

There’s already a great deal on our pick for the best robot vacuum overall, the Roborock S6. It’s currently at an all-time low price of $380, down from the usual price we see of $600.

Amazon has also confirmed that there will be discounts on robot vacuums from Shark and Bissell.

In 2020, brands like iRobot, Shark, and Hoover offered discounts of up to $200. We also saw discounts of up to $150 off a couple of Dyson cordless models.

If you haven’t figured out what vacuum you need yet, check our guides to the best vacuum cleaners, robot vacuums, cordless vacuums, and budget vacuum cleaners to help narrow down your search. Each of them has been recently updated with our latest fully tested picks and guidance on how to shop for the best vacuum for your needs.

To shop Prime Day deals, you’ll need to be a member. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to gain access to all of the deals and many other perks.

Retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy will also have competing vacuum deals that are comparable if not better than Amazon’s deals. Walmart’s Deals for Days event runs from June 20 through June 23, while Target’s Deal Days event runs from June 20 through June 22. We’ll be covering these competing sales on Prime Day as well. And no, you don’t need a special membership for these retailers’ deals – just for Amazon Prime.

The best early Prime deals on vacuums that you can shop right now

S6 Robot Vacuum (medium, Preferred: Amazon)S6 Robot Vacuum (medium, Preferred: Walmart)

What vacuum deals to expect during Amazon Prime Day

There will be deals on all kinds of vacuums, whether you’re looking for a traditional upright vacuum, lightweight cordless vacuum, or time-saving robot vacuum.

We’re expecting vacuum deals from most major vacuum brands, including iRobot, Shark, Hoover, Dyson, Eufy, and Bissell. Amazon already confirmed there will be deals on the Shark and Bissell brands. Amazon has released some deals a couple of weeks early, which we’ve shared above.

What vacuum deals we saw last year

Though they’re not currently on sale, these are actual vacuums that were discounted last year. The same or similar models may be on sale during Prime Day 2021.

How we vet deals on vacuums on Amazon Prime Day

We see deals on vacuums all year long, but the discounts are the most significant on Prime Day and Cyber Weekend. We use historical price data to compare how the newest deals compare to those of past years. We’ll recommend the deal if the new deal is the same or better than in previous years.

In addition, we like to recommend deals on the best products from our buying guides. At their normal price, they already provide great value and top performance. We want to help you get even more value out of these high-quality products by highlighting any applicable Prime Day deals.

For vacuums specifically, we also take into account whether the deal includes additional attachments or bundled offerings that aren’t ordinarily included.

Learn more about how we vet deals and terms like “MSRP” and “street price” you might see in our deals roundups.

The best deals on corded upright vacuums

Corded upright vacuums are good for large homes and long cleaning sessions where you don’t want to worry about battery life. They tend to be powerful and have large dustbins to collect lots of dust and particles. They’re also more affordable than cordless and robot vacuums. Shark, Bissell, and Hoover often discount their corded upright vacuums on Prime Day.

The best deals on cordless vacuums

Cordless vacuums are very convenient and usually lighter and more compact than corded vacuums. The downside is you might need to charge them often depending on the size of your space. Dyson cordless vacuums are notoriously expensive, but a few models are usually on sale during Prime Day. You’ll also see deals on cordless vacuums that are already pretty affordable, like those from Tineco and Hoover.

The best deals on robot vacuums

Robot vacuums, after some initial set-up, are mostly hands-off and do all the cleaning work for you. Keep in mind they can’t climb stairs (yet) so they’re best for one-story homes. We’ll be on the lookout for deals from iRobot, Eufy, Roborock, Ecovacs, Moosoo, and more.

You can read more about the different types of vacuums and their pros and cons in these buying guides:

Other Prime Day FAQs

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day is Amazon’s annual sales event, featuring millions of deals across all categories from fashion to tech. During the event, prices drop to all-time lows, often beating out prices we see over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

When is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day starts at midnight PDT on June 21 and ends at 11:59 pm PDT on June 22. Some deals are only available on one of the two days, while others are available during the entire event.

Do I need to be a Prime Member?

Yes, deals are exclusive to Prime members. If you’re already a Prime member, there’s nothing additional you need to do. If you’re not a member, you can sign up for a 30-day trial to access Prime Day. You can activate your trial now in time to shop for Prime Day deals.

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The best laptop deals we expect for Amazon Prime Day 2021

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Amazon Prime Day 2021 is right around the corner, and we’re expecting to see some significant deals on laptops. The annual shopping holiday will take place on June 21 and 22, making it a great opportunity to snag a new laptop before heading back to school in the fall.

Last year, we saw deals on laptops from Apple, Lenovo, and others as well as Google’s Pixelbook Go and Razer’s Blade 15 gaming laptop. We’re expecting to see a similar selection of deals across Chromebooks, MacBooks, and Windows laptops this year. See below for everything you need to know about shopping for a new laptop on Amazon Prime Day 2021.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

Frequently asked questions

What day is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

Amazon Prime Day 2021 will take place on June 21 and June 22. Deals change throughout the day and span the gamut in terms of categories. We usually see Prime Day deals on everything from tech gadgets and electronics to home appliances, beauty, and apparel. Amazon says it will be offering more than 2 million deals this Prime Day.

Although Amazon Prime Day doesn’t officially start until June 21, the online retailer is already offering early deals on products across its tech, kitchen, home improvement, pets, and books categories among others. There are also early discounts on Amazon products and services such as Audible, Fire TVs, Amazon Music, and Prime Gaming.

Will there be another Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is a two-day event that takes place on June 21 and June 22. Amazon hasn’t discussed any plans for future Prime Day events, but it’s held the shopping holiday every year since 2015. Prime Day usually takes place in July, with 2020 being the exception when it occurred in October.

Do I need to be a Prime member to get Prime Day deals?

Yes, to access Prime Day deals you must subscribe to Amazon Prime, which costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month. Not only does Prime allow for access to Prime Day deals and faster shipping, but it also comes with a bunch of other perks like Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Prime Music.

How should I choose a new laptop on Prime Day?

The most important aspects to consider when shopping for a new laptop are the operating system (OS), the laptop’s specifications, and its size.

Apple device owners usually prefer MacBooks since they run on the macOS operating system, which integrates nicely with the iPhone and has an interface that’s similar to iOS. But those who want the most choice and versatility in a desktop operating system usually go with Windows. Chromebooks, meanwhile, are best for those who use Google services frequently and handle most of their tasks online.

The processor (CPU), memory (RAM), and internal storage are the most important specifications to pay attention to if you’re looking for a general purpose computer. But multimedia editors and gamers will want to make sure their laptop has enough graphics processing power, too.

And finally, size is important when choosing the right laptop. If portability is your main priority, you’ll want to look at laptops with a 13-inch screen. But if you’re planning to primarily keep your laptop in your home office and use it for watching movies when you’re not working, you will probably be happier with a 15 or 16-inch laptop.

The best laptop deals on Amazon right now

It’s not Prime Day just yet, but Amazon is already offering a few notable discounts on laptops. For a general purpose laptop, we recommend a notebook with an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, at least 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

Many of these laptops will have integrated graphics, which share memory with the CPU rather than having their own dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU). Dedicated graphics aren’t a must if you’re mostly using your laptop for tasks like word processing, managing spreadsheets, and browsing the web, but video editors and gamers will want a standalone GPU.

Chromebooks often come with less storage and memory and lower-end processors since they rely so heavily on the cloud.

The best Amazon deals on Apple MacBook laptops

Last Prime Day, we saw discounts on the early 2020 MacBook Air. This year, we’re hoping to see bigger discounts on the newer MacBook Air and Macbook Pro models that run on Apple’s more powerful M1 processor. The MacBook Air is our favorite MacBook since it shares many qualities with the MacBook Pro at a lower price.

The MacBook Pro is already on sale for $99 off on Amazon, while the M1-powered MacBook Air is available for $50 off.

MacBook Pro with M1 Processor (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)MacBook Air (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on Windows laptops

Windows laptops are the most popular laptops, and we’re expecting to see several compelling deals on Amazon Prime Day. But it’s not just Amazon deals we’ll be looking out for – many retailers launch their own deals on the same days as well.

A highlight from last year’s Prime Day, for example, were the discounts available on the Dell XPS 13 through Dell’s own website. Here are a couple of worthwhile Windows laptop deals available on Amazon right now.

Flex 5 (14-inch 2-in-1 with AMD Ryzen 5) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Gram (Intel 10th Gen Core i5, 8GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on Chromebooks

Chromebooks are already known for their affordability, and they’re usually available for even less on Prime Day. Our favorite Chromebook, the Pixelbook Go, was available at a discount last year, as well as Chromebooks from HP and Lenovo. Those who just want a basic laptop for using the Internet and Google’s services should keep an eye out on Prime Day.

Chromebook Flip C434 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best deals on gaming laptops

Gaming laptops are almost always more expensive than regular laptops, which is why you should always try to find them at a discount when possible. Our favorite gaming laptop, the Razer Blade 15, was on sale last Prime Day, alongside other gaming laptops from MSI and Asus. We’ll be looking out for similar deals this year.

Amazon is already touting deals on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced on its early deals page. But these discounts aren’t very significant and only amount to about $35 off the regular price, so we’d recommend waiting to see if better deals surface.

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The best Apple deals we expect on Prime Day 2021 – save on AirPods, MacBooks, and iPad Mini

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airpods pro

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Amazon Prime Day 2021 will be held on June 21 and 22. Over the two-day period, the sales event will offer tons of deals on a variety of tech products.

Apple deals are no exception and we look forward to seeing what savings are in store for this year’s event. A few new Apple devices, like the AirTags and AirPods Max, weren’t available during last year’s sale, so Prime Day 2021 could be the first time we see notable discounts on these products.

In past years, we’ve seen deals on AirPods, MacBooks, Apple Watches, iPads, and more. Ahead of this year’s Prime Day, we’re rounding up the best deals on everything Apple.

You don’t need to be a Prime member to shop current deals, but many deals will be exclusive to subscribers when Prime Day 2021 begins. If you’re looking to give membership a shot, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial now. Prime memberships start at $13 a month after the trial ends.

Prime Monthly Subscription (medium)

Frequently asked questions

When is Prime Day?

Prime Day 2021 will begin on June 21 and run through June 22. Prime members will be able to take advantage of non-stop deals on a variety of products and services over the two-day sale.

This year’s Prime Day comes roughly two months after Apple announced new iPads, AirTags, colorful iMacs, Apple TV 4K (second-generation), and more at its April event. It’s unclear what new Apple products will be on sale during Prime Day 2021, but expect to see deals on older models at the very least.

How to shop for Apple products

Before buying new Apple products on Prime Day, you should keep in mind that discounts tend to appear more often on previous-generation Apple devices. For example, a product like the Apple TV 4K (first-generation) is more likely to go on sale since the new second-generation model was just released in May 2021.

When comparing prices, you should also keep in mind that Apple offers discounted refurbished products on its own website, including previous generations of the MacBook Pro, iPhone, and more. Apple’s trade-in program can also give you additional money toward a refurbished product, as well, when you send Apple your old device.

For detailed buying advice on how to choose the right Apple product for your needs, check out our various Apple device guides and deal roundups:

The best Amazon deals on MacBooks right now

Starting in early 2020 Apple launched a number of new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models.

The key difference compared to older models, is that the latest MacBooks include Apple’s M1 processor, a chip that offers faster performance. We recommend the more affordable Air for most people, but the Pro is still a great buy for shoppers who crave a bit more power, slightly longer battery life, and superior speakers and microphones. You can read our full comparison of the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro here.

The best price we’ve seen the new MacBook Air (256GB) sell for so far is $899, so we expect a similar or better deal on Prime Day. The last time the previous version of the MacBook Air dropped to its lowest price – $799 – was February 2021. If stock is still available, we could see it sell for even less during Prime Day.

You’ll also want to keep your eye on the price of the MacBook Pro with Apple’s M1 Chip. Earlier this year, the price went down to $1,099, which is $200 less than its full price. It’s on sale right now for $100 off, so a better deal could be available on Prime Day.

2020 MacBook Air (M1 chip, Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)MacBook Pro (M1, 13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on AirPods and Beats headphones right now

Prime Day 2021 will be the first Prime Day since the launch of the AirPods Max, Apple’s premium over-ear headphones. The headphones haven’t seen many deals since their debut, so Prime Day could be the first time we see a discount larger than $30.

The AirPods Pro, standard AirPods, and AirPods with wireless charging case have seen many deals over the years, so we expect big discounts on Prime Day. You can check out our full breakdown of the best AirPods if you’re torn between different models.

The AirPods Pro have maintained a price around $200 from October 2020 through May 2021. The lowest we’ve seen them sell for was $169. You should expect a similar discount for Prime Day 2021.

Amazon typically sells the AirPods with a wireless charging case for $150 to $170. Meanwhile the standard AirPods typically sell between $120 to $140. We recommend jumping on any Prime Day 2021 deal prices that are lower than those ranges.

Aside from Apple’s headphones, there are a number of Beats-branded headphones to keep an eye on during Prime Day 2021. These include the Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones which will likely drop to $120 or less.

Airpods Max (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Airpods with Wired Charging Case (Newest model) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Solo3 Wireless Headphones (medium)Powerbeats Pro (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Flex Wireless Earphones (medium)

The best Amazon deals on Apple Watch right now

There are a number of Apple Watch models to choose from but we recommend the 40mm, Series 6 (GPS) model thanks to its health features. We didn’t see the Series 6 fall in price during Prime Day 2020, but it fell by nearly $50 the following month. We recommend any deal that brings the Series 6 below $350.

Other Apple Watch models include the Series 3, the lower-cost alternative to the Series 6 with a wide range of bells and whistles, as well as the Apple Watch SE. The Apple Watch SE hasn’t dropped below $230 on Amazon while the Series 3 hasn’t fallen below its May 2021 price of $198.

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (medium)Watch SE (40mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Watch SE (44mm, GPS) (medium)

The best Amazon deals on iPads right now

Apple’s latest iPad Pro models, starting at $799, launched in May. The 11-inch iPad Pro did get a $50 discount in May, but it’s not clear if we’ll see any major discounts over Prime Day since the 2021 models are so new.

There are older iPad models that have seen more frequent sales on Amazon, including the 2020 iPad Air, the 2020 iPad, and the 2019 iPad Mini. These older iPad models lack Apple’s new M1 processor but they still make good buys for most people. The 2021 Pro models, on the other hand, are really only necessary for creative professionals that need top-notch performance.

iPad Air 2020 (4th Gen, 64GB) (medium)2020 iPad 10.2-inch (8th Gen) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)iPad Mini (5th Gen, 32GB) (medium)

The best Amazon deals on Apple iPhone accessories right now

Apple’s iPhone line has supported MagSafe chargers since the iPhone 8. While we typically see the charger for $5 off on Amazon, it dropped to $10 off in May 2021. We recommend any deal on Prime Day if it’s $10 off or more.

The MagSafe Duo Charger, a charger for two Apple devices, hasn’t seen any sales since its first price drop – roughly $16 off – in April 2021. We anticipate a similar or better deal during Prime Day 2021.

The EarPods with a lightning connector – Apple’s wired headphones option – have been anywhere between $14 to $20 since May 2020. Any deal price lower than that would be worth jumping on during Prime Day.

MagSafe Charger (medium)MagSafe Duo (medium)EarPods with Lightning Connector (medium)

The best Amazon deals on Apple AirTags right now

Since the AirTags launched in April 2021, Amazon has yet to substantially drop their price. The AirTags typically start at $29 and can help you find lost items with Apple’s FindMy app.

Despite no traditional discounts, you can always save $17 by purchasing the AirTags in a four-pack rather than buying four individually.

The AirTags might be too new to get a big discount on Prime Day, but we’ll keep this page updated with any deals if we see them.

AirTags (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirTag (4-pack) (medium)

The best Amazon deals on Apple TV right now

While it’s unlikely we’ll see deals on Apple’s latest Apple TV models and accessories during Prime Day 2021, we expect to see deals on older models.

This includes the Apple TV 4K (first- gen) and the Apple TV HD (fourth-gen) featuring the original Siri Remote (first-gen). While these models are still quality options for streamers, the newer versions include an improved Siri remote (also sold separately).

When sold for the same price, the newer Apple TV models are a better buy, but if the old versions get big discounts on Prime Day, they could present a better value.

TV 4K (2021) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)TV 4K (2017) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)TV HD (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best Amazon deals on iPhones right now

Apple’s iPhones rarely get discounts on Prime Day. The new iPhones were just announced in October 2020, and carriers and retailers will likely discount older models to make way for the new ones.

It’s unlikely that the deals will be on Amazon, though, as the online retailer only sells models that are locked to Cricket Wireless.

Some older models to keep an eye on include the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the iPhone XS, and the iPhone XS Max. You can check out our guide to some of the best iPhones for every budget in 2021 ahead of your next iPhone purchase, as well.

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The best Amazon Prime Day 2021 kitchen deals, from Instant Pots to Nespresso machines

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Amazon Prime Day 2021 Best Kitchen Deals Amazon Prime day 2x1

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is quickly approaching, and with it are many discounts on cookware, countertop appliances, and kitchen essentials.

In addition to the savings on Amazon’s website, competing retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Target typically offer steep discounts or price matching to coincide with Prime Day, so there will be plenty of opportunity to snag a bargain, even if you aren’t a Prime member. We’ll be here in the lead up to Prime Day giving you the inside scoop on the best kitchen and cookware discounts you can find across the web.

While Amazon hasn’t released any information about what deals to expect (or even the official dates for Prime Day), we’ve been covering the event for years and typically see sales on hot-button items like Le Creuset cookware, Instant Pot multicookers, and Nespresso machines. Check back on this page frequently in the weeks leading up to Prime Day; we’ll be updating it with more details as they become available.


What is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is a perk exclusively for Prime members, so we suggest signing up for a free 30-day trial if you’re looking to shop.

When is Prime Day?

Amazon has yet to disclose the date for this year’s Prime Day, but we’re expecting it to fall in June or July, based on the company’s recent press release. That said, be sure to sign up for Amazon Prime in early June to be prepared for big savings.

Though Prime Day began as a one-day event, it has been extended to a two-day sale in recent years. And, to help you score the best deals the internet has to offer, we’ll also be covering competitor sales, like Target’s.

Do I have to be a Prime member?

Yes, you have to be a Prime member to qualify for the event. Be sure to sign up below for your 30-day free trial.

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What kitchen deals should I expect?

While more details are coming, you can be sure to find top deals on Cuisinart, Instant Pot, Le Creuset, and Nespresso, among other kitchen tools and small appliances.

What’s the best Instant Pot to buy?

We tested 10 Instant Pots and electric pressure cookers and found the Crock-Pot Express Crock XL Multicooker to be the best, based ease of setup, cooking, and cleanup. For a budget option, the Instant Pot DUO is comparable, while the Chef iQ Smart Cooker is another great option for modern, smart features.

If you’re interested in getting the most multi-use appliance you can, we really love the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, which was not only named a pick in our guide to the best Instant Pots and electric pressure cookers, but also our guides to the best sous vide machines and the best air fryers.

What’s the best Nespresso machine to buy?

For at-home, cafe-style coffee, you can’t go wrong with Nespresso. The Nespresso Pixie by Breville is our favorite coffee and espresso pod machine and was also named a pick in our comprehensive guide to the best espresso machine.

For a machine that comes with a separate milk frother and pod sampler, the Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine is perfect for whipped-up brews.

What are the best Le Creuset products to buy?

Le Creuset is a leading kitchen brand, namely for its enameled cast iron cookware and Dutch ovens (which we love). Some products to watch out for this Amazon Prime Day include its classic mugs, kettle, frying pan, and casserole dish.

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SpaceX is preparing to launch its newest Starship prototype on Wednesday. The last 4 exploded.

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Elon Musk (center) wants Starships to fly to Mars. But so far the only prototype to land successfully (left) exploded 10 minutes later (right).

SpaceX is getting ready to launch its fifth high-flying Starship prototype. The spaceship could lift off from the company’s Texas rocket facilities on Wednesday afternoon.

Known as Starship Serial No. 15, or SN15, the vehicle is the latest in a series of Starship prototypes that SpaceX is launching up to 6 miles above Boca Chica, Texas. Eventually, a version of this mega-spaceship is expected to become NASA’s next moon lander, which would put boots on the lunar surface for the first time since 1972.

The plan for the SN15 flight calls for the rocket to shut off its three truck-sized Raptor engines one by one as it approaches the peak of its flight. Then the spaceship should tip sideways and plunge back to Earth, using four wing flaps to control its fall. As it nears the ground, SN15 should reignite its engines to flip itself upright and gently lower to the landing pad.

That last step is where its four predecessors have failed. The first two prototypes that soared to high altitudes, SN8 and SN9, slammed into the landing pad at high speeds and exploded immediately. The third, SN10, landed in one piece but blew up 10 minutes later. The fourth, SN11, exploded in midair as it relit its engines for landing.

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The SN8, SN9, and SN10 explosions.

For SpaceX, explosions during rocket development are par for the course.

“They use a different development philosophy than the government does, which is: Fly. If something goes wrong, they try to fix it. Fly again. If something else goes wrong, they try to fix that,” John Logsdon, founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute and a former member of the NASA Advisory Council, told Insider. “People have complimented SpaceX on how quickly they move.”

But, Logsdon added, “the fact that they’ve had these early development-program problems means that there will have to be a record of success before anybody except an extreme risk-taker is willing to get aboard.”

Success may be even more critical now that NASA has chosen Starship to land its next astronauts on the moon.

The agency announced earlier this month that it is working with SpaceX to turn Starship into a lunar lander as part of NASA’s Artemis program. NASA hopes to land its first crewed Starship on the lunar surface in 2024, though a recent report from the NASA Office of the Inspector General suggested it’s “highly unlikely” the agency will meet that deadline.

starship moon human landing system
SpaceX’s Starship human lander would carry NASA astronauts to the moon’s surface.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, recently predicted that Starship could fly its first humans “in a couple years.”

His goals for the launch system extend far beyond the lunar surface. Musk has said he plans to build 1,000 Starships to carry people and cargo to Mars. Ultimately, he hopes to establish a settlement there.

For now, though, SpaceX is trying to land the prototypes without blowing them up.

“Obviously we need to, like, not be making craters,” Musk said in a NASA press conference last month, referring to the explosions. “We’ve got some work to do, but we’re making rapid progress.”

How to watch Starship’s flight live

During the test flight, SpaceX is likely to stream live from the launchpad and from cameras inside the rocket’s skirt, where the engines are. During past Starship flights, the up-close cameras have provided stunning footage, like this clip of SN9.

SpaceX’s live feed of the SN15 launch will be embedded here once it becomes available. A few rocket enthusiasts and fans of the company also broadcast live from Boca Chica.

We recommend starting with NASASpaceflight’s video stream, given the broadcasters’ knowledge and multiple quality camera views.

The commentators on the feed keep track of preparations at the SpaceX facilities that indicate progress toward liftoff – things like clearing the launchpad, activity in the tank farm next to SN15, and the loading of liquid propellant into the rocket.

LabPadre, a YouTube channel from Louis Balderas, who lives across the bay from Boca Chica, offers six unique views of the Starship launch site. Below is the channel’s main 4K-resolution feed.

For a more distant view of the launch site – broadcast from the top of a resort in South Padre Island, about 6 miles away – check out SPadre’s 24-hour live feed.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an airspace-closure notice for the area to make way for launch on Wednesday. A Cameron County judge has also issued local road closures. Both closures end at 8 p.m. CT, so SpaceX must launch by then.

Airspace and road closures are both required for launch. But they can change day to day depending on SpaceX’s plans and FAA procedure. If SN15 does not fly on Wednesday, further closures indicate that SpaceX could try again on Thursday or Friday.

This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published April 19.

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Watch live: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship is bringing 4 astronauts back to Earth, ending NASA’s longest human spaceflight

spacex nasa crew 1 mission 4x3
Flying aboard SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission for NASA are astronauts (from left) Mike Hopkins, Soichi Noguchi, Shannon Walker, and Victor Glover.

A gumdrop-shaped fireball is set to plummet through the dark Florida skies overnight.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship, carrying four astronauts for NASA, is preparing to plow through the atmosphere at 25 times the speed of sound, deploy four parachutes as it approaches the coast of Florida, and then glide to a gentle splashdown in the ocean at about 2:57 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The return journey has already begun. The spaceship, named Resilience, has backed away from the International Space Station (ISS), carrying Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Mike Hopkins of NASA, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Resilience carried these astronauts to the ISS in November. They have been living and working there ever since.

Their mission, called Crew-1, officially restored NASA’s ability to launch people into space on a US spacecraft for the first time since the Space Shuttles stopped flying in 2011. Six-month spaceflights have been routine for NASA astronauts launching on Russian Soyuz spaceships, but until now, the US had never flown such long-term missions on its own.

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There were 11 humans aboard the International Space Station last week.

Crew-1 is also SpaceX’s first routine astronaut flight for NASA. The agency has already purchased five more Crew Dragon missions. The second one, Crew-2, launched four more astronauts toward the ISS on April 23; they reached the station the following morning.

Walker, Glover, Hopkins, and Noguchi greeted the new arrivals, but the ISS was getting crowded. So on Saturday evening, the Crew-1 team climbed back aboard the Crew Dragon Resilience for the journey home.

Watch live as Crew-1 returns to Earth

NASA is broadcasting the nearly seven-hour journey – including the fiery plunge to Earth and the splashdown at the end – via the livestream below, which began at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Walker, Glover, Hopkins, and Noguchi boarded the Resilience capsule and closed its hatch behind them at 6:20 p.m. ET on Saturday. After about two hours of checkouts, the hooks keeping Resilience attached to the space station retracted at 8:35 p.m. ET, undocking the spaceship from the ISS. The vehicle then fired its thrusters to back away.

The Crew-1 return trip was originally scheduled for Wednesday, then for Saturday morning, but NASA delayed it twice after forecasts predicted high winds in the splashdown zones.

SpaceX has flown humans back to Earth from the ISS once before – on a crewed test flight called Demo-2. In May, that mission rocketed NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken into orbit. They stayed on the ISS for two months before splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico.

The entire descent and landing process is automated, but Hurley advised the Crew-1 astronauts to make sure they’re “staying ahead of the capsule,” according to Hopkins, the mission commander.

“Preparing for that landing is just going over our procedures and making sure when we get into that sequence of events, that we’re ready to go, and we’re following right along with all of the automation as it takes us to, hopefully, a safe landing,” Hopkins told reporters in a call from the ISS on Monday.

If all goes well, Resilience is expected to spend the next few hours orbiting Earth and maneuvering into position. At 10:58 p.m. ET, the capsule should jettison its trunk – a lower section outfitted with fuel tanks, solar panels, and other hardware – which it will no longer need.

From there, the Crew-1 astronauts could be in for a bumpy ride.

“The landing was – I would say it was more than what Doug and I expected,” Behnken told reporters after he returned to Earth aboard the spaceship. “I personally was surprised at just how quickly events all transpired.”

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NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft on August 2, 2020.

“It felt like we were inside of an animal,” he added.

Behnken also said that pivotal moments of the landing process – such as when the capsule separated from its trunk and when the parachutes deployed – felt “very much like getting hit in the back of the chair with a baseball bat.”

What to expect as the astronauts plummet to Earth

As the Resilience spacecraft approaches Earth, it is expected to fire its thrusters continuously, pushing itself further into the atmosphere.

dragon v2 reentry
An animation of Crew Dragon plowing through the atmosphere.

Soon, the spaceship should be plummeting through the atmosphere, superheating the material around it to a blistering 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point in his flight, Behnken said, he could feel the capsule heating up, and the force of Earth’s gravity pulling on him for the first time in two months. It felt like being in a centrifuge, he added.

The Crew Dragon’s heat shield – a collection of heat-resistant tiles that line the spaceship’s underbelly – must deflect that superheated material to protect the astronauts inside. After the Demo-2 landing, NASA and SpaceX found that one of those tiles had worn away more than expected. So SpaceX reinforced the heat shield with stronger materials.

Once it’s about 18,000 feet above the ocean, Resilience should deploy four parachutes – which brings a “pretty significant jolt,” Behnken said.

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The Crew Dragon Endeavour lands in the Gulf of Mexico, returning astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to Earth on August 2, 2020.

From there, Resilience should glide to a gentle splashdown in the ocean at 2:57 a.m. ET on Sunday. A recovery crew is expected to retrieve the charred capsule and carry the astronauts to shore.

During Behnken and Hurley’s return to Earth, a crowd of onlooking boats got dangerously close to the spaceship after it splashed down. To prevent that from happening again, SpaceX, NASA, and the Coast Guard plan to secure a 10-mile no-boat perimeter around the Crew-1 splashdown site.

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The SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship lifts the Crew Dragon capsule Endeavour out of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, on August 2, 2020.

“Landings are always fairly dynamic, particularly with the capsules like this, particularly when the chutes are opening. So that’s always a little bit exciting,” Hopkins said.

When asked what he’d like to eat upon returning from the ISS, he replied, “If I have an appetite, that’s going to be a bonus.”

This post has been updated with new information. It was originally published on April 26, 2021.

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Watch live: SpaceX is launching 4 astronauts aboard a recycled Crew Dragon spaceship for NASA on Friday

crew 2 astronauts spacex nasa
The Crew-2 astronauts pose during a training session at the SpaceX training facility in Hawthorne, California.

SpaceX is rocketing four astronauts toward the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday morning.

The company’s Crew Dragon spaceship is the first and only commercial vehicle to carry people into space. It’s now a cornerstone of NASA’s human spaceflight program.

Friday’s mission, called Crew-2, is the second routine astronaut flight that SpaceX is conducting for NASA. The agency has contracted six Crew Dragon missions in total. The first one, Crew-1, is still on the ISS. Those astronauts will be welcoming the four newcomers: Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Launch Complex 39-A at Kennedy Space Center.

“We want this to become a regular way to get to the space station, which means, I don’t know, down the line hundreds of launches maybe,” Pesquet said during a March news conference.

The astronauts have ascended a launch tower to the top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and climbed aboard the Crew Dragon capsule that’s secured to the top. They’re set to roar into space at 5:49 a.m. ET on Friday.

“We’re ready and we’re excited to fly,” McArthur said in the news conference.

Watch the historic spaceflight on NASA’s livestream below.

Watch SpaceX’s recycled Crew Dragon Endeavour fly to space again

NASA TV has live coverage of the preparations, launch countdown, and liftoff:

NASA’s live coverage of the Crew-2 launch began at 1:30 a.m. ET on Friday, as the astronauts got suited up in their SpaceX spacesuits. After that, the astronauts said goodbye to their families, drove to the launchpad in a pair of custom Teslas, ascended the launch tower, and climbed aboard Crew Dragon.

With the astronauts strapped in and the spaceship’s hatch sealed shut, the rocket will be loaded with cryogenically chilled propellant in the 35 minutes before liftoff. If all goes well, it should roar past the launchpad, toward space at 5:49 a.m. ET.

This particular Crew Dragon capsule, named Endeavour, is the same one that flew the first commercial spaceflight last year, carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS in a demonstration mission. The capsule has since been refurbished and upgraded.

McArthur will pilot the spaceship, just as Behnken (her husband) did last summer.

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The Resilience capsule approaches the International Space Station for docking, November 16, 2020.

“I’m going to launch in the same seat. So that is kind of a fun thing that we can share, you know, I can tease him and say, ‘Hey, Can you hand over the keys? I’m ready now to go,'” McArthur recently said in a press call.

The Falcon 9 booster, which is also reusable, is the same one that launched Crew-1 in November.

Friday’s launch was originally set for Thursday morning, but NASA rescheduled because of an unfavorable weather forecast. If weather prevents the flight again on Friday, the agency may have its next launch opportunity on Monday.

After launch, Crew Dragon must orbit Earth and dock to the ISS

crew dragon resilience crew-1 docking international space station spacex nasa
The Resilience capsule docks to the International Space Station on November 16, 2020.

Once the Crew Dragon slips into orbit, it will stay there for nearly 24 hours. The astronauts will likely change out of their spacesuits, eat, get a full night’s sleep, have breakfast, organize their belongings, and, eventually, put their spacesuits back on to prepare for arrival at the ISS.

SpaceX and NASA expect the Crew Dragon to perform a series of automated maneuvers to dock to the ISS around 5:10 a.m. on Saturday. The astronauts have to be suited up in case something goes wrong and the Crew Dragon has to prematurely return to Earth. NASA TV will broadcast the docking operation as well.

crew 2 astronauts crew dragon spaceship
The Crew-2 astronauts during a training session in Hawthorne, California. Left to right: Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough, and Akihiko Hoshide.

The ISS will be crowded with 11 people for at least four days while Crew-1 is still on board. Those astronauts – Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and Soichi Noguchi – will climb back into their own Crew Dragon capsule as early as April 28.

Their capsule, called Resilience, will then undock from the ISS, push itself toward Earth, and plummet through the atmosphere. Parachutes should release, allowing the spaceship to drift to a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

The Crew-2 astronauts will return in a similar fashion in about six months.

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Amazon Prime Day 2021: What we know about the annual shopping holiday, plus Amazon deals available now

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Amazon Prime Day 2018
Planning for and shopping during Amazon Prime Day can be a little overwhelming. We’re here to help.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is returning likely mid-summer, sometime in June or July according to reports from Recode and some Amazon merchants.

For those unfamiliar, Amazon Prime Day is an exclusive event for the site’s more than 150 million Prime subscribers, offering some of the lowest prices of the year on Amazon devices and leading brands. Prime membership costs $13 a month ($119 a year) and delivers other benefits, like free two-day shipping, rewards at Amazon stores like Whole Foods, and hundreds of streaming movies and TV shows from Prime Video. New subscribers can try Prime with a free 30-day trial.

Planning for and shopping during Amazon Prime Day can be a little overwhelming. To help, we’re answering all the most common questions our readers have regarding the sales event, including dates, competing sales, and more. Plus, we’ve gathered some of the best deals available now.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

When is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

Amazon has yet to release the official dates for Prime Day 2021, but in recent weeks, Amazon started inviting merchants to this year’s Prime Day. The invitations hint that this year’s Prime Day will make its return sometime in June or July.

But, shoppers don’t need to wait until the official announcement to get tons of deals. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones below.

The best Amazon deals you can get right now

Stanmore II Smart Speaker (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Echo Dot (3rd Gen) and 1 month of Amazon Music Unlimited (medium, Preferred: Amazon)iPad 10.2-inches, 128GB (8th Gen.) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)USB C Hub 8-in-1 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)C922x Pro Stream Webcam (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Luna 2 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)55-inch CX 4K Smart OLED TV (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Switch Pro Controller (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Ring Fit Adventure (medium, Preferred: Amazon)LectroFan White Noise Sound Machine (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Introduced in 2015 in part to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary, the first Amazon Prime Day was a one-day-only retail holiday for Prime members that sought to overtake Black Friday as the sales event of the year.

During the event, prices drop to all-time lows, often beating out prices we see over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The sale covers every product category Amazon offers: Tech, beauty, home and kitchen, fashion, and smart home are just a few of the huge variety of items that will be discounted.

Who can access Prime Day deals?

Only Amazon Prime members can take advantage of this event. Signing up is easy though, and a membership comes with many more benefits than just Prime Day deals access and free two-day shipping. New members can sign up for a free 30-day trial with full benefits before committing.

Last year, Prime members in the following countries participated in the event: US, UK, UAE, Spain, Singapore, Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Australia, and – for the first time this year – Turkey and Brazil.

Do other stores take part in Amazon Prime Day?

Every year, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy offer sales with competitive pricing during and around the event. The volume and quality of these competitor deals were strong last year, despite the postponement of Prime Day 2020 leaving us very close to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Walmart’s “Big Save Event” leapfrogged Prime Day by starting on October 11 and lasted until Thursday, October 15 – making it a day longer than Prime Day.

Target’s “Deal Days” event ran concurrently with Prime Day and offered shoppers “double the deals compared to last year.” As with Amazon Prime Day, Target offered “early-bird deals” ahead of “Deal Days,” plus exclusive discounts for Target Circle members.

Best Buy historically offers discounts during Prime Day and last year was no different. During the sale, Best Buy sold laptops starting as low as $120, JBL Free true wireless headphones for $60, and a Samsung 70-inch 4K smart TV for $530. Shoppers also saw discounts on Apple devices, laptops, big-screen TVs, and kitchen appliances during its competing Prime Day sale.

Which is better for deals: Prime Day or Black Friday?

It depends on what you’re shopping for.

Prime Day is, first and foremost, an Amazon event. This means Amazon Prime Day offers the best deals on Amazon products. So, expect to see deals on Amazon Echo smart speakers, Fire TVs and streaming devices, Kindle e-readers, Audible, and Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions.

Black Friday, on the other hand, doesn’t “belong” to any particular store. This means that shoppers can expect sales and savings from more retailers, outside of those few that compete with Amazon during Prime Day.

Additionally, Prime Day is better for scoring deals on products selling for under $100 and products you’ll buy more than once per year, like clothing, food, and beauty products, while Black Friday is for once-a-year and rarer purchases like TVs, gaming consoles, and laptops.

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Biden says relief is on the way in prime-time address, with stimulus checks going out as soon as this weekend and vaccine eligibility for all adults by May 1

Joe Biden Stimulus
President Joe Biden speaks before signing the American Rescue Plan Act. The president will give a national address urging “hope” on the first anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • President Joe Biden gave his first prime-time address Thursday night since moving to the White House.
  • The speech marks the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus package being signed into law.
  • $1,400 stimulus payments could be sent out as early as this weekend, The White House said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden told Americans that relief is on the way in his first prime-time address from the White House on Thursday, marking the year anniversary of the pandemic and the passage this week of Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus package. He also announced that all US adults will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by May 1.

The hope is to return to a pre-pandemic normal, or something close to it, by July 4.

“We all lost something,” Biden said of the pandemic, noting the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans, as well as the loss of new memories that were not made. “It’s the details of life that matter the most. And we miss those details,” he said. “Weddings, birthdays, graduations.”

To get there again, the Biden administration will double the number of federally run mass vaccination centers, including mobile operations and pop-up clinics, supported by more than 6,000 active-duty soldiers, senior White House officials told reporters.

Americans will also be able to locate vaccines in their area by using a new, centralized website. The president will also direct all states to make vaccines available to all adults “no later than May 1,” he said, although Biden cautioned that shouldn’t be taken to mean they will all get one on or near that date.

“We’ll have enough vaccine supply for all adults in America by the end of May,” Biden said Thursday night, pledging a new goal of administering at least two million doses a day. “That’s months ahead of schedule.”

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Heralding the stimulus

Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law earlier on Thursday. He and Vice President Kamala Harris plan to go to Atlanta on Friday to tout the package, the passage of which was a major campaign theme for newly elected Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

“It’s never a good bet to bet against America,” Biden said. “America is coming back.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said $1,400 stimulus payments will be sent out “as early as this weekend.”

The package also includes an extension of unemployment benefits, including an additional $300 a week in federal aid. It also includes an expanded child tax credit of up to $3,600 per child, available in monthly payments.

Subsidies for health insurance are also boosted under the legislation, which also provides six months of free coverage for those who have recently lost their employer-provided plan.

Although the stimulus package received no GOP support in Congress, polls suggest it enjoys broad support among the US public, including 6 in 10 Republican voters.

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