- Elon Musk has a “very human side”, according to NASA astronaut Doug Hurley.
- Hurley’s comments preceded a new Netflix documentary covering a historic SpaceX launch in 2020.
- In an interview with Fox News, Hurley discussed her work with Musk and the new documentary.
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley recalled what it was like to work with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk before taking off on a historic flight to space and back in 2020.
In an interview with Fox News, Hurley opened up about his thoughts on Musk, the billionaire space race, and a new
documentary, “Return to Space” which follows Hurley’s journey and that of fellow astronaut Bob Behnken as they embarked on the first human SpaceX mission to the International Space Station.
In May 2020, Musk and SpaceX made history after the company successfully launched two astronauts into space aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft. Shortly after, the astronauts’ ship docked with the International Space Station.
The mission marked the first time a commercial spacecraft delivered humans to orbit and to the ISS.
According to Hurley, Musk had “tremendous concern” for him and Behnken’s safety while preparing for the launch.
“He wanted to make sure that the mission would not only be successful, but that we would come back to our families,” Hurley told Fox. “It pushed him to look at every possible thing with the spacecraft to make sure we got home safely,” he added.
Hurley said one thing most people don’t see about Musk is his “human side.” As the spaceflight drew closer, Hurley recalls Musk talking to all of the employees, “even the interns,” asking them about their concerns about the mission.
“I think that’s a very human side that a lot of people don’t see. What I witnessed was a man who really cared about our well-being and our families. And I’ll always be grateful for that because that I’m still here,” Hurley said.
Before the SpaceX flight, the United States had not carried humans into space from American soil since 2011. Musk then resurrected American crewed spaceflight for NASA, but also launched a new era of commercial spaceflight with mission 2020.
One thing that “amazed” Hurley the most about Musk, however, was his “incredible understanding of the technical situation.”
“You can tell him about the spacecraft itself or about a problem with the rocket — he wants to figure it all out. He’s very hands-on,” Hurley said. “You have engineers, literally the system experts, on hand to answer those questions,” he added.
Despite Hurley’s praise, Musk’s public reputation is somewhat mixed.
His occasional love partner, musician Grimes, recently described him in an interview with Vanity Fair as both the “love of my life” and someone who talks “stupid bullshit.” On the latter, Musk has consistently shown a misunderstanding of how some COVID-19 tests work and skepticism about public health measures, Insider previously reported. He also tweeted ‘coronavirus panic is stupid’ in March 2020. Two years later, the disease killed nearly a million of his fellow Americans.
Musk recently joined Twitter’s board after regularly repurchasing the company’s stock and becoming its largest shareholder. Some Twitter employees expressed annoyance at the development, with one changing his name to “elon musc is a racist demagogue with a god complex”. Another said the protesters were “a vocal minority” on Twitter, Insider reported.