NASA is launching a safety investigation of SpaceX because Elon Musk, the private spaceflight company's founder and CEO, smoked weed.
NASA Investigates SpaceX, Boeing
While the U.S. space agency did not specifically say that the stunt, which happened when the billionaire appeared on a podcast with Joe Rogan, was the reason behind the review. In fact, Boeing, which was also contracted by NASA to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, will also be under investigation.
However, a spokesperson for the government told The Washington Post that the investigation hopes to make sure that both private spaceflight companies adhere to NASA's requirements for workplace safety, including having a drug-free environment. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was also quoted saying "culture and leadership start at the top," which seems like a thinly-veiled shot at Musk.
The U.S. space agency promises a thorough and "invasive" investigation on employee work hours, leadership and management styles, the responsiveness of both companies to safety concerns, and of course, drug policies. The investigation is also expected to have hundreds of interviews from employees at every level. The investigation will begin sometime next year.
This is not the first time that Musk has landed in hot water for smoking pot on camera. Earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force said that they are looking into the situation although no formal investigation has been launched.
People with government security clearance are prohibited to use marijuana. It is unclear if Musk has a government security clearance from SpaceX's contract with NASA.
NASA awarded SpaceX and Boeing the contract to fly astronauts to the ISS in 2014 as part of Commercial Crew Program. Since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, the United States has been relying on the Russians' Soyuz to ferry people to and from space.
SpaceX received $2.6 billion from the program. Both companies are scheduled to make uncrewed and crewed test flights next year.
"We couldn't be more proud of all that we have already accomplished together with NASA, and we look forward to returning human spaceflight capabilities to the United States," said SpaceX to The Washington Post.