NASA has ordered a safety review of SpaceX and Boeing to evaluate the cultures of both companies, which are under contract to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, the Washington Post reported.
The review was prompted by SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk after he puffed on a joint and drank whiskey during an online podcast with Joe Rogan in September, according to three officials familiar with the probe.
The extensive assessment will scrutinize "everything and anything that could impact safety" and will begin next year, William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration, told the newspaper.
NASA officials said they want the public to have confidence in the agency's human space-flight programs, which are set to begin next year.
“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,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in an interview with the Post. “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’ll be safe.”
Bridenstine said he has “a lot of confidence in the SpaceX team," adding that “culture and leadership start at the top. Anything that would result in some questioning the culture of safety, we need to fix immediately.”
What did SpaceX say?
SpaceX told the Post in a statement that it takes the responsibility of safety seriously.
“Human spaceflight is the core mission of our company. 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," the company said in a statement.
SpaceX added that it “actively promotes workplace safety, and we are confident that our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements.”
What did Boeing say?
The company “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," Boeing told the Post in a statement.