Feeds

NASA's drunken astronaut report released

Says astronauts were drunk

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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! ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.