LAS CRUCES, N.M. — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk eased two weeks of tension between them Oct. 10, saying they were on the same page regarding development of commercial crew systems.
Bridenstine toured SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and told media afterwards that development of vehicles to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, including SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, was his highest priority.
“We have, right now, a lot under development. But I will also tell you, and Elon and I are in strong agreement on this, that the one thing we have under development that is of the highest priority is launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil,” Bridenstine said.
Less than two weeks earlier, Bridenstine appeared to question SpaceX’s commitment. In a Sept. 27 statement, a day before Musk provided an update on work on the company’s Starship next-generation launch system, Bridenstine noted commercial crew systems were years behind schedule.
“NASA expects to see the same level of enthusiasm focused on the investments of the American taxpayer,” he said then, comments agency insiders said reflected a perception that SpaceX was not focused sufficiently on getting Crew Dragon completed. “It’s time to deliver.”