Hitting the blunt, then launching astronauts into space sounds like a great Rick and Morty episode.
But in the world of American mainstream political optics, SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience has become a bad look.
This week, NASA’s chief said the agency will investigate SpaceX in 2019 for adherence to federal drug-free workplace contracts, amid concerns about an unconventional corporate culture that starts at the top. SpaceX is located in Hawthorne, CA— a state where cannabis is legal for adult use.
“We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they’ll be safe,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the Washington Post in a Tuesday story.Stranger In A Strange Land?
Musk’s Toke Highlights Concerns
Musk appeared on the Sept. 7 episode of The Joe Rogan Experience and at one point drank whiskey and appeared to puff on a lit blunt. Musk didn’t seem to inhale from the large cannabis cigarette rolled in tobacco leaf paper, though. The puff did not appear to affect him.
Now, space travel is dangerous, and the 16 year-old commercial spaceflight company founded by Musk could fly astronauts as soon as June, reports state. SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket on Nov. 16— its twelfth rocket booster launch this year.
In the not-impossible event of a spaceflight malfunction, NASA needs to be able to say it adequately supervised its contractor.
NASA said the company probe would be pretty invasive, requiring hundreds of employee interviews at multiple job sites. That’ll cost SpaceX money amid existing delays for the Commercial Crew program.
SpaceX told the Post that it has “comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs” that “exceed all applicable contractual requirements.”
The news comes after Musk agreed to pay a $20 million Securities and Exchange Commission fine for an Aug. 7 tweet about “taking Tesla private at $420”.
The media turbulence isn’t slowing the innovator down. Musk’s car company Tesla turned a rare profit this year. On Friday, Musk’s The Boring Company completed a two-mile-long rapid-transit test tunnel in Los Angeles. Monday, Musk renamed SpaceX’s manned spaceship and upper stage from “BFR” to “Starship.” And now Musk wants to make his own Teslaquila.