SpaceX Falcon missile body traversed Blountstown
Ben Hall, Special for the Democrat

Blountstown's Fire Chief Ben Hall now has the Falcon 9 in shrink wrap and outer space

He was in Cape Canaveral for the story in February 2017, when the SpaceX rocket launched from the historic NASA Launchpad that launched the Apollo Moon Missions

He was there in Blountstown for the routine Monday, as the reusable Falcon missile body returns through downtown.

It's a fairly regular site for residents of this small town just over an hour from Tallahassee, to Hall.

"They come right through B I live there every few weeks," he said. "I would assume that this was the same one that was East on July 30. The launch was in early August." More: Will SpaceX Falcon 9 Rockets Three Peat?

More: NASA Names First Astronauts to Fly Boeing SpaceX Capsules from Florida

More: Start Plan: Upcoming Florida Rocket Launches and Landings

The rocket wrapped in black plastic was transported on a huge lowloader carrying an "Overseas Load" sign accompanied by Florida Highway Patrolmen and pickup trucks.

Knowing that he was a SpaceX Buffy, a friend gave him a head after he had discovered the rocket in nearby Bristol.


SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral on Sunday, July 22, 2018, successfully launching the Telstar 19V satellite into orbit.
Florida Today

"Wow, it was about the size of our city, or at least as big as Main Street," one person commented after watching Hall's video posted on Facebook ,

FLORIDA TODAY space reporter Emre Kelly confirmed that what went through Blountstown was a first stage Falcon 9.

"I can tell by the sheathing of the nine engines on the back," he said. "Obviously, since it's wrapped up, we can not see the serial number to find out more, but if it's going east, it's definitely for a launch."

If it goes west, it could support a start Vandenberg Air Force Base in California

"You should see these pretty often, I think, especially with the rising starting cadence."

Kelly said he had seen photos of the packaged Falcon 9s being transported on I-. 10, but he was not sure why SpaceX would choose to navigate through a few small towns.

"I would imagine that they often change the route for safety reasons, road limits, local police availability for escorts, etc."

He said rocket assembly takes place in Hawthorne, California. The rockets will be transported to McGregor, Texas, for test firing, and if all goes well, they will be transported to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or the Kennedy Space Center, depending on the launch pad.

"The first stage in this video is 156 feet tall, 162 feet tall when landing legs are set up, so yes, pretty big!" He said.

Hall and his family have also seen the hawk in its more impressive condition.

"My family and I were lucky enough to see a launch in February 2017. It was an amazing experience and we've had fans ever since," he said. "Especially my wife, Brooke, who is a Blountstown Middle School science teacher."

Hatfield is editor-in-chief at Tallahassee Democrat.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, the Indonesian satellite Merah Putih from Cape Canaveral.
Florida Today

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