NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, talks with SpaceX chief engineer Elon Musk, right, in front of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, about the progress to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station, from American soil, as part of the agency's commercial crew program at SpaceX headquarters, in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

NASA administrator explains Twitter spat with SpaceX

October 10, 2019 - 4:52 pm

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (AP) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says a Twitter statement critical of SpaceX was a signal to all of the space agency's contractors that more realism needs to be built into development timelines.

Bridenstine addressed the issue Thursday at a news conference after touring SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

SpaceX is developing a capsule under NASA's commercial crew program to launch astronauts to the international space station so that the U.S. does not have to rely on Russian spacecraft.

But last month SpaceX founder Elon Musk staged a big event to show off a prototype of an unrelated rocket he calls the Starship.

Bridenstine tweeted ahead of time that the commercial crew program is years behind schedule and NASA "expects to see the same level of enthusiasm focused on the investments of the American people."