NASA will review workplace safety at SpaceX and Boeing

A mock up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft taken

NASA is now working with both companies to develop spacecrafts that will take its astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

Despite that, it appears substantial progress has been made and both companies are nearly ready to undergo their unmanned test flights. Musk is a brilliant guy, but he also likes to push the envelope in ways that tend to worry those he does business with. The Washington Post reports that NASA officials were upset that Musk had violated drug policies and ordered the probe to examine company culture.

SpaceX and Boeing are the two private agencies selected under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

"We take seriously the responsibility that NASA has entrusted in us to safely and reliably carry American astronauts to and from the International Space Station", he said.

While NASA did not detail the flight path, it said the test would provide data on the performance of the Falcon 9, the Crew Dragon capsule and ground systems, and on-orbit, docking and landing operations.

The Jan. 7 launch date announcement comes a day after NASA said it would conduct a "cultural assessment study" of the companies, "including the adherence to a drug-free environment", prior to crew test flights.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon simulator used to train NASA astronauts who will travel to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon is show to the media during a press tour at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne California
The SpaceX Crew Dragon simulator used to train NASA astronauts who will travel to the International Space Station

For its part, a Boeing spokesman said the company's culture "ensures the integrity, safety and quality of our products, our people and their work environment".

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine seems to admit that the inquiry is more about aesthetics than actual safety concerns, voicing "a lot of confidence" in the SpaceX team arguing that the agency needs to intervene if the company gives the impression of a casual safety culture. Both companies are scheduled to make uncrewed and crewed test flights next year.

Boeing said it's committed to continuing a legacy of trust, openness and mission success with NASA. And SpaceX said it has made real progress in the development of the version of its Dragon spacecraft that is created to fly humans.

Starliner will fly atop United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets for the foreseeable future.

According to the November 20, unmanned test flight SpaceX Demo-1 is scheduled for January 7, 2019, estimated time of launch is not yet known.

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