Feeds

NASA's drunken astronaut report released

Says astronauts were drunk

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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! ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.