Three officials familiar with the probe told the Post it was prompted by Elon Musk's behaviour on the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast, in which he smoked weed and sipped whisky. The Post reports that multiple NASA officials said the reason was Musk's public pot smoking. When NASA awarded the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts to Boeing and SpaceX in September 2014, the agency expected at least one of those vehicles to be certified to carry NASA astronauts before the end of 2017.
Nasa didn't explicitly blame its "cultural assessment study" on Musk's joint (or his drinking whiskey), although it did say it would encompass "adherence to a drug-free environment".
"If I see something that's inappropriate, the key concern to me is what is the culture that led to that inappropriateness and is NASA involved in that", the Post quoted NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as saying. NASA's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance will lead the probe, which the space agency's associate administrator William Gerstenmaier has said will be "pretty invasive". "We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they'll be safe". It also noted progress on the part of both companies. SpaceX experienced a setback after its craft's parachute system failed, and Boeing has failed a number of safety tests - not to mention its recent data leak.
In a November 21 statement, NASA said the Falcon 9 launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft on a mission designated Demo-1 is scheduled for January 7 from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A, the former Apollo and shuttle pad that SpaceX has renovated to support launches of its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy vehicles, in particular crewed Falcon 9 missions.
Boeing said in an emailed statement that it was committed to mission success as NASA's partner, while ensuring the integrity, safety and quality of its products, its people and their work environment. It said that it "actively promotes workplace safety, and we are confident that our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements".
In the years since, NASA has had to rely on Russian modules to send astronauts to the ISS, all of which launch from foreign soil.
If all goes well, SpaceX will be able to send astronauts to the International Space Station.
Boeing has said its first flight without crew would be in March 2019, and with astronauts by the following August. "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.
NASA revealed the nine astronauts that will take to space aboard the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon earlier this year.