WASHINGTON, D.C. – News outlet Politico last week reported that after literal rocket scientist and aerospace company Space X Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk puffed a huge joint on culture comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast in September 2018, NASA ordered a “mandatory review” of the rocket company’s workplace culture.
According to Politico, the ordered review is unprecedented and a departure from typical policy that has raised eyebrows among aerospace industry insiders. Some have speculated the September blunt incident on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is what motivated the review.
Space X has been under contract to NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is developing the Crew Dragon capsule for the space agency, in competition with blue chip aerospace company Boeing, under contract to build the Starliner.
Boeing’s contract, however, included a review, which is paid for by the company. The Space X review is taxpayer-funded; also unusual if not unheard of, according to the Politico report—and cited as an alleged difference in the way NASA navigates its options with new aerospace players, like Space X.
Additional speculation as to the cause of the review pointed to a possible violation of Musk’s security clearance status, after the podcast puff. NASA requested the review in November, weeks after the podcast aired. But the discrepancy in funding for reviews of Space X and Boeing may be a sign of the changing times, as federal space programs expand into future commercial markets, according to those interviewed.
As earlier reported by mgRetailer regarding Rogan’s podcast: “The Tesla founder [Musk] commented that he had tried a blunt (or cannabis) once, and then took a few shallow puffs, after offered by Rogan. Before puffing, Musk asked, ‘It’s legal, right?’ to which Rogan replied, ‘Totally legal.’”
The podcast is taped in California, which is a cannabis-legal state. Rogan, a longtime cannabis proponent, has lit up on the podcast previously, as well as talking cannabis with Independent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in August.