Elon Musk's public pot smoking days are over, NASA chief says

"You won't be seeing that again," NASA's administrator says of Musk's infamous appearance on a podcast.

Elon Musk's puff of a marijuana blunt during a podcast raised the ire of NASA's administration.
The Joe Rogan Experience

You won't be seeing SpaceX CEO Elon Musk smoking marijuana or drinking whiskey on a podcast again if he wants to help get astronauts into space.

That's the word from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, whose agency is working with SpaceX and Boeing to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

"I will tell you that was not helpful, and that did not inspire confidence, and the leaders of these organizations need to take that as an example of what to do when you lead an organization that's going to launch American astronauts," Bridenstine told reporters Thursday at NASA's headquarters in Washington, DC.

Bridenstine went on to say that Musk "is as committed to safety as anybody, and he understands that that was not appropriate behavior, and you won't be seeing that again," according to an account of the meeting reported by The Atlantic.

The comments were in reference to Musk's appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in September, where he took a puff of a marijuana blunt during the livestream. Musk's appearance on the program didn't sit well with NASA's top officials, who earlier this month ordered a review of the workplace cultures of SpaceX and Boeing.

NASA's contracts with the aerospace companies -- worth a combined total of $6.8 billion – require both companies "maintain a program for achieving a drug-and alcohol-free workforce."

Bridenstine said Thursday that he personally ordered the reviews, a decision that was influenced by tragedies in NASA's history, including the Apollo I fire that killed three astronauts on a launch pad in 1967 and the Space Shuttle disasters that killed a total of 14 people.

"Every single one of those accidents had a number of complications. Of course, the technological piece was a big piece of it. [But] the other question that always comes up was, what was the culture of NASA?" Bridenstine told reporters. "What was the culture of our contractors, and were there people that were raising a red flag that we didn't listen to, and ultimately did that culture contribute to the failure and, in those cases, to disaster?"

Representatives for Musk and SpaceX didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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