Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator, warned SpaceX that it could struggle to recruit and maintain its workforce if it doesn’t address “bro culture.” “These rockets don’t make their own, and the best and brightest don’t tolerate behavior that really distracts them,” Garver said in an interview. “In the past, brother culture has been successful because most engineers are White males. Things are different now and we definitely benefit from newcomers, a variety of perspectives.”
Garver said she was disappointed to hear reports of employees worrying about SpaceX’s workplace culture. Last month, SpaceX employees wrote a letter to company president Gwynne Shotwell criticizing Elon Musk, arguing that his actions were “a source of frequent distraction and embarrassment. “. But the next day, reports emerged that SpaceX had fired several employees who helped organize the letter.
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Garver’s memoir, Escaping Gravity: My Quest to Change NASA and Start a New Space Age, was published last month. In her book, she says she supports Musk and SpaceX despite NASA’s criticism. “SpaceX is way ahead, ahead of any competitor, including all the big airlines,” Garver said. “To me, it’s both wonderful and scary.”
She believes that if companies like SpaceX don’t start addressing gender discrimination, “they’re going to lose their workforce.”