Thursday, July 26, 2007

Report: Astronauts drank before launch

At least twice, astronauts were allowed to fly after flight surgeons and other astronauts warned they were so drunk they posed a flight-safety risk, an aviation weekly reported Thursday, citing a special panel studying astronaut health.

The independent panel also found "heavy use of alcohol" before launch that was within the standard 12-hour "bottle-to-throttle" rule, according to Aviation Week & Space Technology, which reported the finding on its Web site.

If I knew I had to blast off in an antique Space Shuttle, sheathed in necrotic foam and subject to any number of preventable, potentially lethal glitches, I'd probably drink too.

1 comment:

mr. intense said...

What disturbs me here even more than the fact that some astronauts may be either heavy drinkers or even drunk near launch time are the guys who test and evaluate these problems letting someone in that physically disabled state try to fly a craft costing over $2 billion on a mission which has usually an over $1 billion cost factor. That's just crazy...

What's next? A urine screening just prior to liftoff to test if an astronaut may have had too many drinks at the spaceport, or may have sneaked a doobie out back behind the launch tower? How surreal--kind of a Ballardian/ Vonnegut SF scenario.

I really would not like it if someone incapacitated didn't flip a switch or push a button at the right time. I mean, hearing a shuttle to ground tape recording of someone saying "...Whoops!" followed by a drunken chuckle or squeal of consternation just prior to a shuttle explosion would not make my day. Or the shuttle crew's.