Science

NASA to launch safety review of SpaceX, Boeing

NASA to launch safety review of SpaceX, Boeing”

The review into the "safety culture" of both Boeing and SpaceX will begin next year, NASA associate administrator for human exploration, William Gerstenmaier, said, TechCrunch reported.

Three officials familiar with the review told The Post it was prompted by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's behaviour on the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast in September; Musk was seen on the livestream smoking weed and drinking whiskey.

The space agency said it would conduct a "cultural assessment study" of the companies, 'including the adherence to a drug-free environment, ' prior to crew test flights scheduled to take place in the coming months.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine added in an interview that top executives need to portray a model for culture and leadership. "Anything that would result in some questioning the culture of safety, we need to fix immediately". Bridenstine said. "As an agency, we're not just leading ourselves, but our contractors as well".

"We fully expect our commercial partners to meet all workplace safety requirements in the execution of our missions and the services they provide the American people", NASA said in a statement.

Aerospace giant Boeing also holds a NASA commercial-crew contract, which it seeks to fulfill using the CST-100 Starliner capsule.

For SpaceX's crewed test flight, NASA assigned Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, both members of several Endeavour and Atlantis missions. It'll be the first time that astronauts head to space from the United States since the Space Shuttle program concluded in 2011. Since then, the companies have faced setbacks and delays as they work to develop their spacecraft. Boeing still needs to test the heat shields and parachute systems of its spacecraft and address the potential for propellant leakage during the emergency abort process.

ASAP members also pushed back against claims that the problems were merely "paperwork" issues delaying the test flights. "Clearly crew can not be risked without complete confidence in the parachute design", the panel found. "Current projected schedules for uncrewed and crewed test flights for both providers have considerable risk and do not appear achievable", said Patricia Sanders, chair of NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), of the commercial crew program during an October 11 meeting of the committee. The contract for the human-approved and reusable "Dragon" spacecraft was signed in 2011, its mission now scheduled next year would be the company's first experience in manned space flight.

The release went on to underline NASA officials' intentions to ensure their requirements are met. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry the Crew Dragon spacecraft into orbit.



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