Air Force Says Elon Musk Can Launch Rockets Despite Launchpad Explosion

The U.S. Air Force will still let Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch rockets after the company’s last rocket exploded on the launch pad.

SpaceX will keep their certification to launch satellites into space for the government as federal agencies continue to investigate the fiery launchpad explosion of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket Sept. 1. (RELATED: This Video Shows Elon Musk’s Rocket Exploding On The Launch Pad)

“The SpaceX Falcon 9 capability remains certified for national security launches,” Winston Beauchamp, deputy under secretary for the Air Force’s for space, said Tuesday Space News reports.

The Air Force has no plans to change their current contracts with SpaceX, Beauchamp said.

SpaceX has not released information about the cause of the explosion, but Beauchamp says the company has been “very open and transparent with us during the last mishap.” (RELATED: Elon Musk Still Doesn’t Know Why His Rocket Exploded)

The Falcon 9 explosion caused “moderate” damage to one of the launchpads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, but “it’s definitely repairable,” Beauchamp said. (RELATED: Rocket Explosion Will Cost Elon Musk $120 Million)

The Air Force hired SpaceX to launch a GPS satellite into space in 2018, a 82.7 million contract, the Pentagon announced in April.

SpaceX has other outstanding contracts with the government, including a deal to develop rocket engines that eventually could replace the Russian-built engines currently used by United Launch Alliance, the biggest Air Force rocket supplier, and a deal to launch resupply missions for the International Space Station. (RELATED: Defense Bill Will Allow U.S. To Buy Russian Rocket Engines Until 2022)

SpaceX hopes it will return the Falcon 9 to the launchpad in November, according to CEO Gwynne Shotwell. “We’re anticipating getting back to flight, being down for about three months, so getting back to flight November, the November timeframe,” Shotwell said at a conference in Paris Tuesday.

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