The Air Force is still working on its independent assessment of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explosion, and could still disqualify SpaceX from National Security Space launches—but there is no indication it should, the commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center said Friday. “From 10 minutes after the incident until today, we’ve had full access” to everything SpaceX has, said Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves at an AFA Mitchell Institute breakfast on Capitol Hill. “The mishap itself did not affect the certification status” of the Falcon 9 system, he said, and though the results of the investigation could, Greaves said it is unlikely. “I see no reason—none at all—no inkling, no concern with SpaceX’s certification and I have no intent to decertify them,” he said. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 upgrade was recently certified for national security space launches, though the company is still waiting for “mission assurance return to flight” status for USAF launches.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.