SpaceX investigating possible sabotage as potential factor in Falcon 9 rocket explosion

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Oct 4, 2016, 10:31 AM EDT

Though Elon Musk has his eyes set on Mars, SpaceX is still firmly planted on Earth this month as the company tries to figure out what went wrong in a recent explosion that destroyed one of its rockets and damaged a launchpad. One option? Sabotage.

The Washington Post reports the company is looking into potential sabotage as a factor in the explosion of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket on Sept. 1. Officials say they’ve ruled out all the obvious factors that could’ve caused the rocket to fail and explode, and now they’re looking into the “less probable answers” that could possibly explain the accident.

Apparently sabotage is one of those less probable answers. According to the report, a SpaceX representative went to a ULA building in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and asked for access to the roof. If you’re unfamiliar, ULA is a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing — a major competitor for SpaceX. The encounter was described as a “cordial, not accusatory, encounter,” but ULA refused access and instead contacted Air Force investigators (who are assisting in the explosion investigation). After checking out the roof, the Air Force team apparently found nothing that could connect ULA to the explosion.

In a statement, SpaceX said the company would not be commenting on the investigation or any potential cause (at least until the case is solved).

Regardless, this is just a really weird twist in the ongoing investigation of the Falcon 9 explosion.  With the company keen to get back into the air by November, it’s no surprise SpaceX is working fast and furious to figure out what happened so it can be avoided in the future.

(Via The Washington Post)