The US space agency told Forbes on Tuesday that the investigation will be a "cultural assessment study" not only of SpaceX, but on Boeing as well. The move, according to NASA, is to make sure that both companies are "meeting NASA's requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment."
SpaceX and Boeing have both been contracted by NASA to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX is expected to begin manned test launches of its Crew Dragon spacecraft in June, while Boeing will begin in August, according to Forbes.
With few details of the probe available, William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration, gave some insight on the matter to the Washington Post, indicating that the investigation will be "pretty invasive."
To be led by NASA's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, the investigation will look into the number of hours worked by employees, drug policies and whether employee safety concerns are taken seriously, among other areas. "Everything and anything that could impact safety [will be checked]," Gerstenmaier said.
Jim Bridenstine, an administrator for the space agency, stressed to the Post that the probe is meant to assure the public of the program's safety ahead of test flights in the upcoming year.
"If I see something that's inappropriate, the key concern to me is: what is the culture that led to that inappropriateness, and is NASA involved in that?" Bridenstine said. "As an agency, we're not just leading ourselves, but our contractors as well."
"We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they'll be safe," he added.
SpaceX has maintained that it "actively promotes workplace safety," telling Forbes that it's confident in meeting NASA's expectations. Boeing has yet been formally notified of NASA's inquiries.
Musk has been at the center of various controversies this year. Most recently, in September, he reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to step down as Tesla's chairman after he fired off a tweet suggesting he was planning to take the company private. Musk paid a $20 million fine as part of the settlement.