Published: Thu, November 22, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Elon Musk's marijuana puff prompts safety review from NASA, report says

Elon Musk's marijuana puff prompts safety review from NASA, report says

Outside of ensuring SpaceX employees and management figures don't turn up to work while blitzed, the review will look into the working hours of staff, whether safety complaints are taken seriously, and the overall culture fostered at the venture.

The space agency said it would conduct a "cultural assessment study" of the companies, 'including the adherence to a drug-free environment, ' prior to crew test flights scheduled to take place in the coming months.

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.

Both SpaceX and Boeing say they're on track to meet the current schedules for demonstration flights to the space station, after years of work and billions of dollars in NASA funding.

'We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they'll be safe'.

Bridenstein added, "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.

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Aerospace giant Boeing, which has a $4.2 billion contract under the same commercial crew program, said in a statement, "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 will launch an extensive "safety review" of operations and workplace culture at SpaceX and Boeing-two companies the space agency has commissioned to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

'We are confident that our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements, ' SpaceX said in a statement sent to Reuters.

The review comes after a tumultuous time for Musk, whose behavior led to a series of scandals.

Musk's behavior reportedly concerned senior staff at NASA, who then felt it necessary to scrutinise the corporate culture at its contracted companies.

If all goes well, SpaceX will be able to send astronauts to the International Space Station. John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for Boeing's Commercial Crew effort, explained that the earliest the company can "confidently" do a manned flight test will be in mid-2019.

At the meeting, panel members raised a number of technical issues with both Boeing and SpaceX's development, from the problem with the propulsion system for the Starliner's propulsion module discovered over the summer to a lack of a final resolution on the root cause of the failure of a composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) that led to the pad explosion of a Falcon 9 more than two years ago.

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