Feeds

Drunk-astronauts doc says NASA is in denial

Pooh-poohs space agency pooh-pooh

Business security measures using SSL

The US Air Force doctor who led an investigation which reported that NASA astronauts flew drunk has criticised the space agency's subsequent review, which concluded that he was wrong. Colonel Richard Bachmann also suggested that management attitudes indicated a culture of silence at NASA.

News agencies reported today that Bachmann described NASA language as unhelpful, saying that it was unwise to dismiss allegations of astronaut tipsiness as "urban legends."

"Public statements that such things are simply impossible, challenging the veracity of the findings, referring to them as unproven allegations or urban legends, rather than acknowledging how difficult raising such concerns can be, do not encourage openness and safety, make future reporting even less likely, and increase the risk of future mishaps or incidents," the Colonel told politicians in Washington.

Just because NASA personnel wouldn't reveal incidents of drunkenness or other problems to their own management didn't mean that such things had never occurred, he said; nor did it mean that his own report was inaccurate.

Indeed the Colonel suggested that the fact that NASA's investigation didn't agree with his meant that there were terrible problems within the space agency, worse than space aces drunk at the stick.

"We believe this may represent continued fear and barriers to communication and may be a cause for greater, not less concern," he said.

Bachmann's independent panel was convened after the arrest of astronaut Lisa Nowak, following her nappy-clad crosscountry odyssey and alleged attempt to mace and kidnap a younger rival for the attentions of her extramarital squeeze, space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein. Nowak's legal team has filed psych documentation hinting that they may be considering a defence of temporary insanity.

Colonel Bachmann's probe found no further scandals of this sort among the 92 astronauts on flight status, indicating that in fact the space aces compare favourably in terms of lurid private life to other high-profile selective groups such as politicians. But Bachmann's group did report that there had been several cases of space crew drunk on launch day, though no details of name and date were given. It was said that concerns had been raised, but ignored by bosses.

NASA chief Michael Griffin said he jolly well wasn't running a culture of silence.

"One cannot prove a negative. I cannot prove that no one at NASA is afraid to speak up, but I hope that that's not the case," he said.

"If anyone at NASA is concerned about an immediate supervisor ... bring it to me ... I do deal with any concerns brought to me. I follow up."®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups
Mankind shuffles into the future, five fingers at a time
Apple's Mr Havisham: Tim Cook says dead Steve Jobs' office has remained untouched
'I literally think about him every day' says biz baron's old friend
Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen
Angry Microsoftie hauls auctioneers to court over stalled Pzkw. IV 'deal'
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport
'Canine training exercise' SNAFU sees woman take home booming baggage
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.