SpaceX denies report of Air Force blowing up its floating Falcon 9
Elon Musk had hoped to tow one of his rockets home after it managed to survive an experimental landing in the Atlantic Ocean, then weird reports surfaced about its fate.
Eric MackContributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is email@example.com.
ExpertiseSolar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects. CNET's "Living off the Grid" series. https://www.cnet.com/feature/home/energy-and-utilities/living-off-the-grid/Credentials
Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Shortly after the celebration over SpaceX's Falcon Heavy debut began to die down, a few odd reports started to circulate that one of the company's Falcon 9 boosters used in an earlier launch had been bombed by the US Air Force.
SpaceX has since told me that these reports are "categorically false."
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company would try to tow the resilient rocket back to shore. Shortly thereafter, attention shifted to the Falcon Heavy spectacle and little more was heard about the small rocket that could.
That is until reports began to surface that the Falcon 9 from the GovSat-1 mission had been "scuttled" by the Air Force, or basically bombed to the bottom of the ocean.
I contacted the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, which manages Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where SpaceX often lands its Falcon 9 rockets, but did not hear back.
I did hear back from SpaceX though, where communications director John Taylor relayed the following via email:
"While the Falcon 9 first stage for the GovSat-1 mission was expendable, it initially survived splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. However, the stage broke apart before we could complete an unplanned recovery effort for this mission. Reports that the Air Force was involved in SpaceX's recovery efforts are categorically false."
So it appears the military is not taking target practice with floating metal tubes filled with rocket fuel. Still, it seems we have discovered yet another potential reason why recycling rockets is a good thing.
Watch this: Watch SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket make its first test flight
Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.
Solving for XX: The tech industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about "women in tech."