SpaceX's Crew Dragon. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX has pinned down the cause of an explosion that destroyed one of its Crew Dragon capsules on a test stand on April 20.

Why it matters: The stakes are high for SpaceX. NASA has a contract with the company to use its Crew Dragon capsule to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

  • The first crewed SpaceX flight was expected to occur before the end of 2019, but the accident — which didn't cause any injuries — is likely to set those plans back.

Details: A SpaceX and NASA investigation team found that a leaky valve in the Crew Dragon's propulsion system was to blame for the explosion, which took place about 100 milliseconds before the company lit up the capsule's SuperDraco thrusters for a test firing.

  • SpaceX says they've finished about 80% of the investigation and are switching out the problematic valves, among other fixes.

What to watch: NASA has yet to put out an updated expected timeframe for SpaceX's first crewed flight to the station.

  • "I hope it's this year, but we're going to fly when it's the right time and when we know that we're going to be flying our crew safely." NASA Commercial Crew program manager Kathy Lueders said during a press call.
  • Boeing is also working toward building its Starliner spacecraft under a contract with NASA to fly astronauts to the space station as well.

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - Health

U.S. daily coronavirus cases top 50,000 for first time

A medical technologist processes test samples for the coronavirus at a lab in Tampa, Florida, on June 25. Photo: Octavio Jones/Getty Images

A record 50,655 tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the United States on Wednesday, Johns Hopkins data shows.

Driving the news: The pandemic is accelerating across the U.S., with the Sun Belt being hit particularly hard. Daily coronavirus case records were reported on Wednesday in Texas (8,076), Georgia (2,946), North Carolina (1,843) and Tennessee (1,806).

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 10,667,217 — Total deaths: 515,646 — Total recoveries — 5,464,367Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 2,685,806 — Total deaths: 128,061 — Total recoveries: 729,994 — Total tested: 32,827,359Map.
  3. Federal government: Trump says he still thinks coronavirus will "just disappear" at some point, supports another round of direct payments to Americans.
  4. Public health: Thanks to coronavirus, your home is now your gymFormer FDA chief says 500,000 Americans may be contracting coronavirus a day.
  5. States: Georgia and Arizona report record new coronavirus cases — California shuts down bars and indoor dining for most residents.
  6. 1 ⚽️ thing: 6 players test positive for coronavirus before MLS comeback tournament.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden outraises Trump again with record $141 million June haul

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden at Philadelphia City Hall in Pennsylvania in June. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party raised $141 million in June, his campaign announced on Wednesday night.

Why it matters: It's the most the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has raised in a month. It's also more than the record $131 million President Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee raised last month.