Anybody who has ever puked in an astronaut helmet will tell you that it’s not advisable to over-party immediately before going into orbit, as it creates a most unpleasant olfactory and visual experience for the duration of the trip.
A panel reviewing astronaut health issues in the wake of the Lisa Nowak arrest has found that on at least two occasions astronauts were allowed to fly after flight surgeons and other astronauts warned they were so intoxicated that they posed a flight-safety risk.
The panel, also reported “heavy use of alcohol” by astronauts before launch, within the standard 12-hour “bottle to throttle” rule applied to NASA flight crew members.
So that’s why they call it a moon “shot”?
Here’s an artist’s rendition of the alleged event:
So, is this a big deal? A couple of decades ago I played Asteroids after a few beers and had my best game ever. But is the story even true? Sure, we could wait and see if somebody installs a 24-hour Wendy’s fly-thru on the International Space Station — that might offer a little clue — but in the report, no astronauts are even named.
If I’m interpreting the story correctly, flight surgeons and other astronauts noticed it but they were allowed aboard anyway. I thought the duty of a flight surgeon was to do a bit more than just hold a ‘nauts head over the toilet and then drive ’em to the launch pad, but I imagine that’s part of what is being investigated here.
All things being equal, I’d rather have drunk people in orbit than on the highway. Besides, I’ll not be hypocritical and cast an accusatory finger at anybody, even assuming this story is true, as the only way I’d ever even think about climbing atop a rocket would be if I was completely snockered.
NASA’s immediate problem is really in figuring out who sabotaged a computer — and I’m guessing that person was completely sober.
Moving on — in related news, NASA announced they have received Ted Kennedy’s astronaut application form.