Feeds

NASA's drunken astronaut report released

Says astronauts were drunk

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Poor NASA. They've truly suffered through a woebegone week of bad news.

First, the space agency was slammed for losing $94m worth of equipment. Then a space station computer was sabotaged by a subcontracting company. Finally, an internal investigation has found that some astronauts were dangerously drunk during takeoff.

Last Friday they were celebrating the anniversary of the moon landing and promising to establish a base there. This Friday, they're defending themselves from being labeled as incompetent, drunken saboteurs.

Sometimes the fickle finger of fate pokes you in the eye.

Our earlier report that NASA would release findings of sauced space explorers has proven to be correct. With report in-hand, we can now look at the details.

Let's see...details...

Oddly, for a report with such an embarrassing finding, it remains vague on any specifics, or even measures of verification for the investigation.

Here's the paragraph that's so stirred media quills:

"Interviews with both flight surgeons and astronauts identified some episodes of heavy use of alcohol by astronauts in the immediate preflight period, which has led to flight safety concerns. Alcohol is freely used in crew quarters. Two specific instances were described where astronauts had been so intoxicated prior to flight that flight surgeons and/or fellow astronauts raised concerns to local on-scene leadership regarding flight safety. However, the individuals were still permitted to fly."

It leaves something to be desired, that's for sure. Who were the astronauts? What missions did they fly?

nasa shuttle rehearsal

Houston to Margaritaville: All systems go

But before we even get to that can of worms, have the interviews been verified?

We may never know. The space agency's next move will be to study and evaluate the report. This charge will fall in the hands of NASA's senior management and Medical Policy Board. But because the findings are classified as medical, the likelihood the public will get any more details remains low.

The panel said NASA has not established a way to deal with alcohol use by astronauts.

"The medical certification of astronauts for flight duty is not structured to detect such episodes, nor is any medical surveillance program by itself likely to detect them or change the pattern of alcohol use," the panel wrote.

NASA said that in response to the study's recommendations, there will be an interim adoption their T-38 aircraft alcohol policy for future space shuttle flights. The policy prohibits alcohol consumption within the 12 hours prior to flight. Astronauts will neither be under the influence nor the effects of alcohol at the time of launch. Furthermore, NASA will now establish an astronaut code of conduct.

This pretty basic stuff, and quite frankly, it's odd that there wasn't such policy in place beforehand.

Fourteen astronauts were interviewed by the panel. All but one has space flight experience. In addition, five family members and eight flight surgeons were interviewed.

The results of the agency's bad week might get a turn-around on August 7, when NASAs next manned mission is set to blast off from Cape Canaveral. The mission is bound for the International Space Station.

Hopefully, they'll get some proper boozing up there when nobody is looking. In space, nobody can hear you heave. Cheers, space explorers! ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.