NASA has ordered a safety review of SpaceX and Boeing as the two companies prepare to launch humans to the International Space Station. The move comes after company founder Elon Musk was seen smoking pot.
According to the Washington Post, officials were rankled by SpaceX founder Elon Musk smoking marijuana and drinking whisky in a recent appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast. The video streamed on YouTube.
SpaceX and Boeing have contracts with NASA to develop and launch new space capsules to fly astronauts to the station. Since the end of the Space Shuttle program, NASA has relied solely on Russia for rides to the station.
“In the coming months, prior to the crew test flights of Crew Dragon and Starliner, NASA will be conducting a cultural assessment study in coordination with our commercial partners to ensure the companies are meeting NASA’s requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment,” the agency said in a statement.
SpaceX said it actively promotes workplace safety and it expects its programs to exceed all contractual requirements.
“Human spaceflight is the core mission of our company,” said a SpaceX spokesperson. “There is nothing more important to SpaceX than this endeavor, 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."
NASA associate administrator William Gerstenmaier told the Washington Post a months-long assessment would “examine everything and anything that could impact safety,” including hundreds of interviews to assess the culture of each companies’ workplace.
Boeing said it’s committed to continuing a legacy of trust, openness and mission success with NASA.
“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,” said a Boeing spokesperson.
The more than $6 billion Commercial Crew Program has faced numerous schedule delays since the companies were awarded the contracts in 2014. It’s unclear if the review will cause additional delays.
“We fully expect our commercial partners to meet all workplace safety requirements in the execution of our missions and the services they provide the American people,” said NASA.
Both companies are targeting uncrewed test flight of their vehicles starting in 2019.