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SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule ahead of launch. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX confirmed today that its Crew Dragon capsule was destroyed during a ground test of the vehicle on April 20, after its history-making uncrewed flight to the International Space Station in March.

Why it matters: Before this accident, the Crew Dragon was expected to start flying NASA astronauts to and from the space station as early as this summer, ending the space agency's reliance on Russian-made rockets. This mishap throws that schedule into doubt, possibly delaying the return of human spaceflight to the U.S.

Details: SpaceX's Vice President of Mission Assurance Hans Koenigsmann said that the company doesn't yet know the root cause of the accident, but they are confident that the problem isn't related to the design of the capsule's powerful SuperDraco thrusters.

  • "We have no reason to believe there is an issue with the Super Draco themselves. Those have been through about 600 tests," Koenigsmann said during a news conference for an unrelated SpaceX mission Thursday. “We continue to have high confidence in that particular thruster.”
  • SpaceX is planning to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a cargo-carrying Dragon capsule to the space station early on Friday morning. Koenigsmann is confident that capsule is safe to fly after the accident.

Background: The now-destroyed Crew Dragon was the first capsule of its kind to dock to the station, proving out SpaceX's vision for future crewed mission to space.

Go deeper

56 mins ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams

Expand chart
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bogus cryptocurrency investments led to an unprecedented increase in online scams last year, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it's surging in popularity, there's still a lot of confusion about how it works.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

New clues emerge on long COVID

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The presence of certain autoantibodies or high amounts of coronavirus RNA in the blood could be indicators a patient has a higher chance of developing long COVID, according to a new study in the journal Cell.

  • Other factors include a person having Type 2 diabetes or the reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus.