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When it was reported that NASA is suddenly going to conduct what it called a “safety review” of SpaceX and Boeing, the two companies that will soon be flying astronauts to and from the International Space Station, eyebrows raised and jaws dropped across the media. The space agency has been working closely with SpaceX for the past 10 years, and with Boeing since the Apollo program. Nevertheless, the reviews will be extensive and intrusive, involving inspections of facilities and interviews with hundreds of employees.
The space agency is suddenly getting nervous about what NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called “the culture of inappropriateness,” especially at SpaceX. Allegedly, the sudden review was triggered by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s often off-putting behavior on social media, culminating in his smoking a joint during a podcast. The truth may be a little bit more sinister.
Eric - Berger - Space - Reporter - Ars
Eric Berger, a space reporter at Ars Technica, tweeted that the impetus for the review may be coming from somewhere above the NASA administrator’s pay grade: “The NASA ‘safety review’ of SpaceX (and Boeing) looks pretty daft, especially because the agency has a lot riding on the success of commercial crew. Guess who doesn’t? Key people in Congress who never really liked the program, to begin with.”
He added that some source suggest a political motive for the reviews. The implication is that some members of Congress, beholden to more traditional aerospace firms and frightened of the success SpaceX has enjoyed in recent years, would like to take the free-wheeling commercial space company down a peg or two.
Reasons - Reviews - Interests - Congress - Musk
Less ominous reasons may exist for the reviews than assuaging the parochial interests of Congress. Musk smoked weed on his own time in a state where recreational pot is legal. However, marijuana is still prohibited on the federal level, which may present a problem for a...
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