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SpaceX Rocket Blast Investigation Gets Bizarre Twist - Was It Sabotaged?

© REUTERS / explosion on the launch site of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is shown in Cape Canaveral, Florida
An explosion on the launch site of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is shown in Cape Canaveral, Florida - Sputnik International
The investigation of the SpaceX rocket explosion has taken an unexpected twist this month after a SpaceX employee visited the rival United Launch Alliance (ULA) facilities.

In September, the Falcon 9 rocket exploded during fueling before the engine test fire. So far, the incident has been labeled "the most difficult and complex" in the company's 14-year history, Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and chief executive, said. According to Washington Post, still images from the video became a reason for the visit. The pictures showed a strange shadow followed by a white spot on the roof of a nearby building of ULA, SpaceX's long-standing rival. The building is used for refurbishing rocket motors and has a Launchpad on its top.

Photographers set up remote cameras preparing to cover the Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket launch at complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral. (File) - Sputnik International
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As SpaceX is attempting to consider all possible leads in the investigation, the employee went to ULA, but was not allowed access to the roof. Instead, ULA called Air Force investigators who examined the roof and did not find anything suspicious, the officials said.

Musk said, "We've eliminated all of the obvious possibilities for what occurred there. So what remains are the less probable answers."

Both companies compete over national security contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Till 2014, ULA had a monopoly on them, but then faced competition from SpaceX. For now, learning about the reasons for the explosion is the company's "absolute top priority," but what caused the blast is still unknown, according to Musk.

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