26th July 2007 - 07:31 PM
I am so disappointed to find out that astronauts are human. I just can"t believe that they exhibit emotion and they like to enjoy something that other humans have loved (and most of us still love) for thousands of years.
Before we found out that they were human, I never understood why they put a bathroom on the space shuttle - and what the crap are they doing sleeping. Androids don"t eat, sleep, drink, use the restroom, or fall in love...
I believe we should only send super humans or androids into space.
26th July 2007 - 08:00 PM
I'd drink too if someone strapped me to a couple hundred thousand pounds of highly volatile chemicals and fired me into the air.
26th July 2007 - 09:12 PM
the only sentence in the article that relates to the headline-"The weekly said that the committee 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. " please wait till you have more info to publish - this article was a bunch of of non info - like many articles I have read on this site.
26th July 2007 - 09:16 PM
What do you expect from the associated press? Journalism?
26th July 2007 - 11:05 PM
What the article also fails to mention is whether these astronauts are the commander and/or pilot, or some payload specialist who doesn't have a thing to do until a day or two after the launch. There's a whole world of difference there.
27th July 2007 - 05:23 AM
I wanna go up into space, I promise I won't drink after T-12 hours to launch!
27th July 2007 - 03:24 PM
What do you expect of intelligent people who are risking their lives on a a flimsy, accident-prone craft that was designed in the 70s and built by the cheapest contract bidders?
N O M
29th July 2007 - 07:36 AM
Hey, haven't a few of their predecessors died doing this? What's wrong with a few drinks prior?
It is a well known and effective way of stress relief. As Big Tone says, these guys are only human.
29th August 2007 - 11:01 PM
4:20 PM, 8/29/07, Update: NASA finds no evidence of astronaut alcohol abuse
Based on scores of interviews with current and former astronauts, flight surgeons, managers and technicians, an internal NASA investigation has found no evidence of past or present alcohol abuse by space shuttle or Soyuz crew members that might represent a flight safety issue. The review also found no verifiable instances in which health concerns from flight surgeons were quashed or ignored, senior agency managers said today.
"Within the scope and limitations of this review, I was not able to verify any case where an astronaut spaceflight crew member was impaired on launch day or any case where any NASA manager disregarded recommendations by either a flight surgeon or another crew member that an astronaut crew member not be allowed to fly on the shuttle or the Soyuz," said Brian O'Connor, director of safety and mission assurance at NASA headquarters. "Should such a situation present itself in the future, my review makes me confident that there are reasonable safeguards in place to prevent an impaired crewmember from ever boarding a spacecraft.
"As for disregard for flight surgeon or crew safety concerns, I found that although there may be occasional disagreements ... all parties understand their roles and authorities and the multiple safety reporting and appeal paths that we have in place. This report makes one recommendation to improve flight surgeon oversight during launch day activities. I also found several areas in various NASA and other relevant policies that should be improved for scope and clarity, and this report has specific recommendations in the policy area."
O'Connor, a former shuttle commander and one of NASA's most respected managers, told reporters that even though his investigation is complete, "I have reminded the entire workforce that any alcohol abuse or other flight safety threat should be reported in an open forum when it's seen, or if necessary, through any one of the several anonymous reporting systems in place at NASA."
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin ordered O'Connor to look into the issue of alleged astronaut alcohol abuse after an independent review panel, formed to evaluate astronaut health care and screening in the wake of the Lisa Nowak arrest, issued a report last month that included two allegations of such abuse. The independent panel made no attempt to verify the allegations, which were based on unsworn, anonymous interviews.
"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," the July report said. "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."
That allegation touched off a frestorm of internal and external speculation because the report did not specify whether either of the two incidents in question involved the space shuttle, flights in T-38 jet trainers or U.S. astronauts launching aboard Russian Soyuz rockets. Air Force Col. Richard Bachmann Jr., chairman of the NASA Astronaut Healthcare System Review Committee, attempted to clarify the issue during a July 27 briefing.
"There were two incidents described to us in more detail as representative of a larger concern," he said. "One of those incidents involved both the shuttle and a T-38 during the course of the same incident. The second incident involved the Soyuz."
The first incident allegedly involved a T-38 flight to Houston after a shuttle launch had been called off. The Soyuz incident involved a NASA astronaut who, according to an anonymous interview, was so intoxicated at some point before a Soyuz launch that a flight surgeon spent the night in the astronaut's room as a safety precaution.
Today, O'Connor said he found no evidence to support the T-38 claim and Griffin said a private discussion he had with a flight surgeon about the alleged Soyuz incident had convinced him the original report was simply in error.
"While I too am bound by the Privacy Act restrictions, I can say categorically that that anecdotal story did not happen," Griffin said. "There was not an impaired crew member, there was not a flight surgeon who felt that he or she had to stay with the crew member and monitor his or her status to prevent them from injuring themselves. That did not happen."
While the allegations in the original report, "if true, are a great concern," Griffin said, "one can't prove a negative. I can't prove, Byran can't prove that there isn't somebody out there with a verifiable story who just now, with all the attention that's been put on this, doesn't want to come forward. What we can say is looking at shuttle and T-38 flight times, the one allegation just cannot be true and we have looked into the allegation about the Soyuz crew member and that also is not true to a very, very high degree of confidence.
"So I'm sitting up here, if you will, staking what little credibility I may have left and saying I think our guys are doing a heck of a job and I think they are terrific employees and I think these allegations are not true based on the investigatory material Bryan has brought back. Earlier on, we were asked the question, well how do you account then for the stories? I don't know, that's not my job. I can't account, I do not have any possible way I can account for ... how these stories get started. What I as an agency head, and what Bryan as head of safety and mission assurance can do is investigate the stories and try to find any shred of truth. We did that. We can't find it."
Jim Voss, a former shuttle astronaut who completed a long-duration flight aboard the international space station, told CBS Radio the NASA investigation confirmed his personal experience.
"I had 15 flights that I spent in the shuttle crew quarters as a support engineer, very closely associated with the crews during their last days before flight," he said. "And then I spent five as a crew member. There was never any incident of alcohol impairement that I saw. There was only very light social drinking any time. For example, there's often a champagne toast the night before with your family before launching. People do drink a beer or glass of wine occasionally, but there's no heavy drinking. It's very serious business going to space and all the crews know that."
O'Connor interviewed at least one crew member from every shuttle flight over the past 20 years. He also met with or heard from every active flight surgeon, nearly every current astronaut and a large group of former astronauts. O'Connor said the only two investigations he could recall over the past 20 years that included more interviews were the Challenger and Columbia disaster investigations.
O'Connor and his team reviewed some 1,500 anonymous incident reports dating back to 1987 and searched through the agency's database of mishaps and close calls. Along with phone calls and email from nearly 100 engineers and technicians who assist astronauts on launch day in Florida and Kazakhstan, O'Connor said "I heard from every one of our current operational flight surgeons, more than 80 percent of the current astronaut corps and many former astronauts.
"I also talked to suit technicians, medical staff, operational managers, crew quarters managers, food service staff and closeout crew technicians," he said, referring to me men and women who help strap astronauts into the shuttle for launch. A former astronaut himself, O'Connor said he personally "never saw an inebriated astronaut show up for work, let alone show up for a flight."
"They have absolutely no motivation to hold up a mission and be blamed for it," he said. "The probability of flying an impaired astronaut is extremely low. In fact, I can't even imagine it. I put it in the non-credible category."
Said Griffin: "I've never ween anybody show up for work impaired, never, not even a close call. Ever. Never mind for a flight. I've been a pilot myself for decades. I can't imagine risking my ticket by violating the 'bottle-to-throttle' rule. And I cannot imagine a military pilot who's life depends on such doing that. It's just not credible."