NASA chief Jim Bridenstine says SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will have to quit smoking pot or drinking whiskey in public as he did in September on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast if he wants to take astronauts into space.
Speaking to reports at the headquarters of NASA on Thursday, Bridenstine said Musk “did not inspire confidence” by smoking weed on the podcast, adding that it was inappropriate for him to do so.
Bridenstine told the reports that he recently spoke with Elon Musk and the SpaceX chief now understands he did not behave as expected of him.
“I will tell you that was not helpful, and that did not inspire confidence, and the leaders of these organizations need to take that as an example of what to do when you lead an organization that’s going to launch American astronauts. I will tell you, he is as committed to safety as anybody, and he understands that that was not appropriate behavior, and you won’t be seeing that again,” Bridenstine said.
Officials of the space agency were angered by the incident prompting them to order a cultural assessment review of Boeing and SpaceX. NASA has every right to be worried because it is currently working with both SpaceX and Boeing to build new transportation systems that will replace the current space shuttles. Once complete, the systems will be used to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.
The review is expected to take months and seeks to evaluate whether the companies adhere to drug-free work culture. Bridenstine said NASA and the companies it contracts ought to have a healthy work environment in order for things to be smooth. He, however, clarified that NASA wanted to order an assessment of the workplace environment at Boeing and SpaceX even before the video of Musk smoking marijuana hit headlines.
The space agency chief went on to state that the primary motivation behind the review on SpaceX and Boeing is to prevent disasters such as the Columbia (2003) and Challenger (1986) accidents that claimed fourteen lives, as well as the Apollo 1 fire (1967) in which 3 people perished. Although the accidents were caused by technological problems, Bridenstine did not rule out that poor workplace environment may have played a role.
As the leader of a company that is at the center of the aerospace industry, Elon Musk is not expected to do drugs publicly because it may be assumed that he is encouraging a negative workplace environment.