- NASA will launch a safety review of SpaceX and Boeing, two companies it has contracted to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, The Washington Post reported.
- Three officials familiar with the review told The Post it was prompted by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s behaviour on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast in September; Musk was seen on the livestream smoking weed and drinking whiskey.
- The NASA administrator said that he had confidence in SpaceX’s team but that “culture and leadership start at the top.”
NASA has ordered a safety review of two of its contracted companies, SpaceX and Boeing, two months after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was seen smoking weed on a podcast livestreamed on the internet, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The review, set to begin next year, will examine “everything and anything that could impact safety,” a NASA associate administrator told The Post.
Three officials familiar with the review told the newspaper it was prompted by Musk’s smoking weed and drinking whiskey on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast in September.
Musk’s behaviour reportedly concerned senior NASA staff members, who then felt it necessary to scrutinize the corporate culture at its contracted companies.
A NASA spokesman declined to comment to The Post on why it decided to launch the review but said it would “ensure the companies are meeting NASA’s requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment.”
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told The Post that it’s important the public has confidence in the companies NASA contracts as suppliers, especially since SpaceX and Boeing are gearing up for their first flights with astronauts aboard.
“If I see something that’s inappropriate, the key concern to me is what is the culture that led to that inappropriateness and is NASA involved in that,” he told the newspaper. “As an agency, we’re not just leading ourselves, but our contractors as well. We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they will be safe.”
Bridenstine said that he had confidence in the SpaceX team but that “culture and leadership start at the top.”
“Anything that would result in some questioning the culture of safety, we need to fix immediately,” he said.
In a statement, SpaceX told Business Insider: “Human spaceflight is the core mission of our company. There is nothing more important to SpaceX than this endeavour, and we take seriously the responsibility that NASA has entrusted in us to safely and reliably carry American astronauts to and from the International Space Station.”
It added: “SpaceX actively promotes workplace safety, and we are confident that our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements.”
Boeing said in a statement to Business Insider: “The culture at Boeing ensures the integrity, safety, and quality of our products, our people and their work environment. As NASA’s trusted partner since the beginning of human spaceflight, we share the same values and are committed to continuing our legacy of trust, openness, and mission success.”
NASA did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.