The Galactic Booze Cruise
An independent panel set up by NASA to evaluate health issues at the agency has made an unexpected discovery: In at least two instances, astronauts were allowed to fly after drinking heavily, despite concern by doctors and colleagues. It’s not clear whether the flights involved spacecraft or training jets.
AP via Yahoo:
In a statement Friday, NASA said that it is unaware of any astronauts who were drunk before a flight but that it is investigating. It said the panel failed to give the space agency any details of the allegations.
NASA has long had a policy that prohibits any drinking in the 12 hours before an astronaut flies a training jet. The space agency said that policy has historically been applied to spaceflights, too. But as a result of the panel’s report, the rule will officially be applied to spaceflights, NASA said.
The panel said that astronauts and flight surgeons told the committee about heavy drinking by crew members just before flights. Also, the panel said alcohol is freely used in the crew quarters, where astronauts are quarantined at the Kennedy Space Center in the three days before launch.