One year, a month and 10 days ago, Elon Musk went on the Joe Rogan Experience and smoked weed. People lost their minds despite all it was is two adults smoking weed in a state where recreational marijuana is legal. Now there have been repercussions for the SpaceX founder smoking weed. Not for Elon Musk, but rather U.S. taxpayers.
Following the weed-smoking episode between Elon Musk and Joe Rogan, the U.S. Air Force reportedly opened an investigation into the Tesla CEO. While it is legal to smoke pot in California, there are more stringent laws for federal contractors who have special government security clearance such as Musk has with SpaceX. Using any drugs that are illegal on a national level is a violation of the terms of a government security clearance.
Now there is a new report that the government opened a mandatory review of workplace culture inside federal contractors. The review, which will be done at SpaceX and Boeing, will focus on “educating its employees and ensuring they are following strict guidelines for federal contractors barring illegal drug use.” The review will include interviews with SpaceX employees ranging from senior managers to engineers.
In May, NASA agreed to pay SpaceX $5 million in May to cover the cost of the safety assessment according to a report by Politico. This is in addition to the $2.6 billion contract that NASA already gave to SpaceX. Meaning that the U.S. taxpayers will pay for the training. This is the most expensive joint ever.
NASA said that it’s “standard practice” to provide a company additional money for work not included in the original contract. Oddly enough, Boeing allegedly did not receive additional funds to do the same workplace review.
“SpaceX worked closely with NASA to account for additional work beyond the scope of the contract,” said SpaceX spokesman James Gleeson.
“As a taxpayer why would I pay when I don’t have to?” asked Pete Garrettson, a recently retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and space strategist. “If I was Boeing, I also would have said, ‘Why am I being punished without the same compensation?’”
The $5 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the contracts that SpaceX and Boeing have received. SpaceX was awarded a $2.6 billion contract to build the Crew Dragon capsule back in 2014. The capsule will accommodate four astronauts on their travels to the International Space Station, dock at the ISS for six months, and then bring them back to Earth. The effort, which is part of the Commercial Crew Program, is currently behind schedule. Boeing was given $4.82 billion for their version of the project called Starliner, which is also behind schedule.
During a routine test launch at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, a SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule exploded on April 20, 2019. The cause of the explosion was because of a leaky valve in a propellant pressurization system.
It seems it would have been much cheaper for Boeing and SpaceX to send around an email to employees that said: “Say no to drugs if you’re a government contractor.”
You can read more NASA news HERE.