Elon Musk’s SpaceX appears to be in the clear regarding allegations of workplace violations involving drugs and alcohol. NASA stated that it has no evidence that the rocket company is breaking rules that could threaten its government contracts.
Earlier reports accused SpaceX of ignoring employee drug use and drinking on the job, SpaceX releases Elon Musk’s 2017 company talk. Critics argued this could endanger SpaceX’s partnerships with NASA and compromise rocket launches and satellite services. However, NASA’s own investigation found no signs of noncompliance.
“The agency does not have evidence of non-compliance from SpaceX on how the company addresses the drug- and alcohol-free workforce regulations,” NASA said in an official statement on January 12th. “We expect our commercial partners to meet all workplace safety requirements in the execution of those missions and the services they provide the American people.”
NASA’s verdict comes as a relief for SpaceX and its founder, Elon Musk. The space agency is one of the company’s biggest customers, relying on SpaceX rockets and capsules to ferry astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station. Any loss of its government partnerships would be a major setback.
But the workplace culture at SpaceX still raises concerns. Employees have described an intense, hard-partying environment in some departments. Musk himself has attracted controversy for smoking marijuana on a live podcast.
However, building cutting-edge rockets is inherently stressful work. As long as its workers stay sober when doing their technical duties, SpaceX can likely justify its more freewheeling culture. The company continues pushing boundaries in the commercial space race.
For now, NASA is satisfied that SpaceX can complete its missions safely and responsibly. But with human lives on the line, SpaceX must ensure that its workplace policies and practices remain above reproach.