SpaceX's 1st Crew Dragon Test Flight to Launch Jan. 7, NASA Says

22 November, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • The recent behavior of SpaceX founder Elon Musk has rankled some at NASA’s highest levels and prompted the agency to take a close look at the culture of SpaceX and Boeing people familiar with the matter said

USA space agency NASA said on Tuesday it would review the workplace safety culture at SpaceX and Boeing Co, as the two companies gear up to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

First reported by The Washington Post, the space agency is looking at a months-long review to understand and evalute the workplace culture of two of its most prominent contractors. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine did not directly voice that opinion, but told the paper "culture and leadership start at the top".

The company added it "actively promotes workplace safety, and we are confident that our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements".

'We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they'll be safe'. The review would be led by NASA's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, which has conducted similar probes inside NASA.

In a statement, SpaceX told The Post: "Human spaceflight is the core mission of our company".

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Boeing also insisted its culture "ensures the integrity, safety and quality of our products, our people and their work environment", a spokesman said in a statement emailed to AFP.

Those test flights come after years of work by both companies, as well as significant delays caused initially by shortfalls in funding and, more recently, by technical problems both companies have experienced.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA's Administrator, told the news outlet that the goal is to make sure the public has trust in the agency's spaceflight program, especially in light of them getting closer to the return of crewed flights from US soil.

"As NASA's trusted partner since the beginning of human spaceflight, we share the same values and are committed to continuing our legacy of trust, openness and mission success". Musk shared some of his. distinctive wisdom on technology and the future, letting viewers know that people on social media "look like they have a much better life than they really do", that we all probably live in a computer simulation and that we will one day be assimilated by an artificial intelligence system. Boeing has also been placed under review with NASA citing general safety concerns. "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.

If that flight is successful, it will be followed in June by a crewed test flight, called Demo-2, where NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will fly the Crew Dragon to the ISS. It's not yet clear whether the review could hold up the first crewed demonstration flights of SpaceX's Crew Dragon or Boeing's Starliner capsule.

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