“I have no concerns.”

Get Owned

NASA has hedged many of its bets on SpaceX despite its controversial and majorly overworked owner — and as the agency’s director now suggests, that’s mainly because Elon Musk isn’t running it.

In an interview with NPR, NASA director Bill Nelson gave a fascinating and telling answer when asked about Musk’s ownership of the spaceflight firm that enjoys tens of billions of dollars in government contracts.

“Elon Musk’s decision-making has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years when it comes to some of his other companies, Twitter and Tesla,” interviewer Scott Detrow asked. “Are you concerned that so much of this plan is in the hands of Elon Musk at this point in time?”

“Elon Musk… one of the most important decisions he made, as a matter of fact, is he picked a president named Gwynne Shotwell,” Nelson demurred. “She runs SpaceX. She is excellent. And so I have no concerns.”

Cause For Concern

This isn’t the first time the NASA director and former Florida senator has expressed similar sentiments.

A few months after Musk bought Twitter — though before he disastrously renamed it “X” — in late 2022, Nelson recounted to NBC News his relief when discussing the acquisition with the SpaceX president.

“Tell me that the distraction that Elon might have on Twitter is not going to affect SpaceX,” Nelson recalled querying Shotwell.

In response, she apparently told him that it hadn’t harmed the spaceflight company and that he had “nothing to worry about.”

“I hugged her with a smile on my face, because I know she is running that thing,” the NASA director continued. “She’s running SpaceX.”

Commercial P-U

All the same, the former deputy director of NASA remarked in a tell-all memoir released in 2022 that prior to taking over as head of the agency, Nelson was even more anti-Musk than he is now.

In her book “Escaping Gravity: My Quest to Transform NASA and Launch a New Space Age,” former deputy director Lori Garver said that when he was still a senator, Nelson “led the opposition” to SpaceX, which she championed while spearheading what became the Commercial Crew Program. In one private meeting, as Garver recounted, Nelson even shouted at her to “‘get your boy Elon in line.'”

While he’s publicly softened on Musk, Nelson can’t seem to help but let his animosity towards the bombastic multi-hyphenate show now and again — and as the person in charge of NASA, which has invested so heavily in SpaceX, it’s not hard to see why.

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