Science News: SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Investigation Deepens With Sabotage ImplicationsBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
The investigation on the crash of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is continuing to develop. This comes after sabotage implications have been presented by the company.
The Washington Post reported that the feud between the space company of Elon Musk and its rival, the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, took a strange turn this month when SpaceX officials asked to gain access to the roof of one of ULA's buildings. This is part of the internally-led investigation on the crash of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket last September.
Apparently, something suspicious happened during the launch and the officials wanted to check it out. SpaceX captured still images from the video that showed an odd shadow, then a white spot on the roof of a nearby building leased by ULA.
It was noted that the SpaceX representative emphasized that the site investigation was part of its efforts to examine all possible leads and not to accuse ULA. The building, though, has a clear line of sight to the Falcon 9 launchpad with a distance of about a mile.
ULA denied access to the SpaceX employee and called for Air Force investigators instead. The investigators did not find anything that was linked to the rocket explosion.
According to the Los Angeles Times, 24 members of Congress, from different parties, have recently sent a letter to the Air Force, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration praising the agencies' efforts in assisting the SpaceX investigation. This comes after 10 Republican House members criticized why Elon Musk's space company is leading the investigation.
"We are confident that current NASA and Air Force procedures will ensure that future U.S. government missions that utilize the Falcon 9, and any other launch vehicle system, will undergo appropriate flight worthiness evaluations prior to flight," the letter stated. NASA and the Air Force have confirmed that they received the letter while the FAA has not commented yet.
The recent development comes after Elon Musk revealed his Mars plans. The SpaceX CEO plans to create a gigantic rocket - one that is more comfortable and larger than the Saturn V, which sent humans to the moon, which is expected to go on orbit, be refueled using multiple launches, go to Mars, enter the planet's atmosphere using aerodynamic braking to slow down and land on its tail.