It was revealed last week that NASA will conduct an investigation into the culture of SpaceX after concern about Elon Musk’s behavior began to grow within NASA’s superior leadership. NASA has remained relatively quiet when it comes to public statements against Musk’s stunts, but it seems to be changing ever so little.
Speakers with reporters criticized NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine openly criticism Musk and raised the perceived drama he caused. The NASA boss was critical of Musk’s public persona and noted that he as the head of SpaceX was seen as the face of a group that has close ties with NASA himself.
“I will tell you that it was not helpful,” Bridenstine told reporters at a press conference on NASA HQ. “And it did not inspire confidence, and the leaders of these organizations must take it as an example of what to do when leading an organization to launch American astronauts.”
NASA promotes a drug-free environment where its researchers and engineers are kept to the highest possible standards. SpaceX has been a hugely valuable partner for NASA, but it’s a matter of launching unmanned cargo ships in space. Sending US astronauts to space on SpaceX hardware is another, and NASA seems to be much stricter about how SpaceX and its Executive Director behave now when the company is in the middle of the building to carry crew.
at The Atlantic on NASA’s relationship with Musk, Bridenstine said that he had personally talked to Musk. “We’ve had a number of conversations,” he explained. “I will tell him that he is as safe as someone, and he understands that it was not a proper behavior, and you will not see it again.”
Musk is an interesting character. He has built some groundbreaking companies and, with SpaceX, has helped to drive the development of science in a big way. He also loves to be in the spotlight, and the two things do not necessarily need to be blended well when one of your biggest partners is US spacecraft. We have to see how things are popping out, but it would be surprising if we see Musk push the envelope forward.