Elon Musk presents his plan to colonize Mars on September 27, 2016. Associated Press
Just days after SpaceX founder Elon Musk delivered his sweeping vision of colonizing Mars , a Colorado congressman is calling on government agencies to take over an investigation of the aerospace company's recent launchpad rocket explosion .
The move — a signed congressional letter dated Thursday, September 29 — follows on the heels of two recent explosions of uncrewed Falcon 9 rockets.
"These failures could have spelled disaster, even loss of life, had critical national security payloads or NASA crew been aboard those rockets," the letter states. "Both SpaceX failures occurred after the Air Force certified the Falcon 9 launch vehicle for U.S. national security launches, less than fifteen months ago."
Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) penned the four-page congressional letter, which was cosigned by nine other House Republicans.
It asks for increased scrutiny of SpaceX's investigation practices, plus lobs pointed questions at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA, and the US Air Force (USAF) about the certification process of SpaceX hardware, pricing schemes, risk assessment, and more. (The letter's full text is at the end of this post.)
An explosion on the launch site of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is shown in this still image from video in Cape Canaveral Thomson Reuters
The first SpaceX incident in question was an in-flight explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket on June 28, 2015, destroying a telecommunications satellite.
SpaceX chose to do an internal accident investigation with some FAA oversight, ultimately determining that a faulty strut had caused the accident.
The most recent accident was a launchpad fireball of a Falcon 9 rocket on September 1, 2016, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The percussive blaze destroyed Facebook's $200 million Amos-6 satellite , and SpaceX again exercised a federal law to perform its own investigation (since no people were harmed). That investigation isn't done, though a helium systemseems to be at fault.
For its ongoing investigation, SpaceX nearly doubled its team to a core group of "around 20 people," of which "more than half are representatives from FAA, NASA, US Air Force and industry experts," a company spokesperson previously told Business Insider in an email.
But the 10 signers of the congressional letter do not seem satisfied with the process.
"We feel strongly that the current investigation should be led by NASA and the Air Force to ensure that proper investigative engineering rigor is applied and that the outcomes are sufficient to prevent NASA and military launch mishaps in the future," the draft letter states.
John Taylor, a SpaceX spokesperson, declined to comment when provided a copy of the letter.
A space battle on Capitol Hill