SpaceX’s Shotwell to be Deposed in Whistleblower Lawsuit

Gwynne Shotwell
Gwynne Shotwell

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell will be deposed in a lawsuit filed by former employee  Jason Blasdell, an avionics test technician who claims he was fired in 2014 after blowing the whistle on managers for cutting corners on tests.

He received consistently positive reviews from management for his work, his lawsuit states. However, he began seeing safety issues related to the testing procedures of rocket parts, leading him to question the quality of the testing and the risks it posed not just for possible rocket explosions, but for the potential loss of human life as well, according to his attorneys’ court papers.

Blasdell complained to Shotwell, to SpaceX founder Elon Musk and to the company’s human resources department that there were potentially dangerous deviations from protocol that his managers were pressuring test technicians to make, his lawsuit alleges.

Shotwell, 53, told Blasdell during an October 2013 meeting that she would investigate his concerns and hire an outside consultant to investigate, the suit claims. Blasdell followed up in early 2014 when he inquired of Shotwell by email whether the consultant had been hired.

“Ms. Shotwell never responded to plaintiff’s inquiry, but instead wrote a separate email to plaintiff criticizing the manner in which plaintiff communicated with management,” according to the court papers….

In their papers, SpaceX attorneys called Blasdell’s lawsuit “baseless.”

Read the full story.

  • patb2009

    Suppose all the Blasdell allegations are true. What is the allegation here?
    Were these tests violations of OSHA? NASA safety protocol?

    When you build a nuclear reactor NRC sets regs, specifying how welds are done,
    so when the builders cheat, it’s a violation of federal law…

    What regs control a rocket? FAA doesn’t write these. So even if SpaceX
    just changed their rules daily, how is this a whistleblower case?

    A whistleblower case is predicated on some form of rule breaking by an entity.

  • publiusr

    I hope this doesn’t get ugly.