It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Astronauts Allowed to Fly Drunk on at Least Two Occasions

page: 1

log in


posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 04:56 PM
On at least two occasions, NASA allowed astronauts to fly despite being intoxicated enough to pose a flight risk, a panel has reported.

A panel has found that astronauts were allowed to fly on at least two occasions despite warnings they were so drunk they posed a flight risk, Aviation Week reported on Thursday on its Web site.

The publication said the panel set up by NASA to study astronaut health issues reported "heavy use of alcohol" within 12 hours of launch.

Airline pilots can go to prison for this type of behavior and the fact that such would be allowed to occur when there are back up astronauts, leads one to ask, just what the hell is going on at NASA.

The report doesn't address the Nowak incident, but this news taken into the totality of the problems with NASA one wonders if it isn't time to clean house and get back to the "right stuff."

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 05:03 PM
Ummm...not very professional is it. Do astronauts "guide" their vehicles or isnt that done remotely?
I guess they only have themselves to worry about and they are not like passenger carriers that are responsible for hundreds of lives.

In any case, its not very professional

Maybe they have to get drunk in order to fly..I dont drink and i would if i was going to do something that daring.

Who knows.

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 05:07 PM
Good points Grady'. Uh, this 12 hour "window" please correct me if I am in error but aren't the Astronauts sequestered on NASA property during that time?

If so, how are they gettin' the "booze"? And once found to be "under the influence" wouldn't someone be required to "clear' them for flight? Who is THAT person and which specific Astros are involved?

Also, many Astros are on loan from military services bound by the same service rules when on "loan" as if in the originating service. What are the penalties for being "sloshed" on duty?

I'm Canadian so I have no idea about US military codes of conduct...

Any guess as to "what" will make this "go away"?


[edit on 26-7-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 05:25 PM
Congressional hearings would be in order, I believe.

This is way more serious than sports doping, in my judgement.

NASA needs some serious housecleaning from the top down.

I'm sure there are others here who have a clearer understanding of the implications of these findings than I do.

[edit on 2007/7/26 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 06:31 PM
Just an update, normally NASA puts the entirety of the Flight Readiness Review news conference online and covers it on NASA-TV.

At today's FRR where this report was mentioned by William H. Gerstenmaier NASA Space Operations Manager according to Mark Carreau at the Houston Chronicle, and where the sub-contractor "sabotage" came out... NASA-IG (who have their own legal troubles BTW) is "on it", so the sabotage was mentioned but could not be expanded upon other than BOTH the flight item and the backup in stores were tampered with.

It is a computer that network "dumps" data from the ISS truss to other computers... strain or torque or polar moment sensors. Not critical... they don't use them now. I'm guessing disgruntled employee rather than a "Stepney-gate".

Want the bad news? Huh? Endeavour (the newest OV) which was built to replace Challenger has just been through a 5 year refit. Lots and lots of folks doin' lots of work with RTF change-orders and what-not. Many sub-contractors. Not much is likely to go wrong... but a refit of that magnitude... well they flew the other Orbiters preferentially more than once during RTF. Uh, Endeavour was ready... but because of work flow the other Orbiter's were easier to turn around? Ok.

Oh yeah, the machinist's union is... another issue... small apples in comparison.

Only excerpts are being broadcast... sabotage? Yes. Booze? No. "Can't answer that." They may release the data... yet. It might have been a pretty difficult news conference.

I'm going through the day's captures and see if I can turn anything up.

Hmmm. Might these events constitute a conspiracy to "hush up" this sort of "difficulty" through selective media presentation?

Hmmm. If there were to be Congressional hearings might that suspend flights? Might that either spell big trouble for ISS or mean than the President's "Shuttle Won't Fly Beyond 2010" dictum "slips".

It gets better, counting two contingence flights and the Hubble Service Mission that leaves a sked of lemme see 2.7 months between launches. That's without any suspension in flight for flight-safety reasons or any other. Pressure.

Oh, the Astronaut health report - it's out tomorrow. I hope there's a manned spaceflight program tomorrow night. It's the one as a result of Lisa Nowak's/Billy O. difficulty.

This has been the most bizzare - I hope there is a manned spaceflight program tomorrow night.

Freaky freaky weird,


PS. Hey! O-Ring trouble is back too! Oh and the SRB train accident...

[edit on 26-7-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 07:50 PM
I just finished watching the portions of the news conference that were broadcast today. Ran it twice. One thing is very clear by my estimation of the press reaction - Uh, the normally placid milque-toast aerospace journalists smell "blood".

Some media seemed very upset using words like "shocking", "unprecedendented", "unimaginable" and one senior member of the press called the conference moderator "sonny".

The Astronaut Health Study ordered after the arrest of Lisa Nowak/dismissal of Billy-O is out tomorrow... the press will be there and after today they may want more than "blood"... I'm thinkin' the proverbial "pound of flesh". That's if NASA-IG doesn't step in and shut the whole works down.

Hello Space Command? Yeah, Griff here, listen we're having a little in-house personnel problem. You could? Turn-key? 90 days notice?

NASA has had a very bad day and tomorrow may well be worse. This sucks. I like NASA. Let's see... no civilian manned spaceflight... Hmmm. What might that mean?

Not cheers,


[edit on 26-7-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 07:55 PM
I would think they would hold much higher standards for these guys!!
I mean most of us have had one to many and just wanted to get home right? I wont lie, When I had a truck I got so drunk I had to drive with one eye closed. Granted I was just down the street from my house, and should have just walked home, but drunks dont think like that, and I was under 21 to boot! Heck when I turned 21 I stopped drinking, and have held myself to a higher standard, and Im just some dude..
Its sad, if you have money or power, you can do what ever you want, and the public will over look it becasue you can pay them off..

I made an oath long ago never to drink and drive agin, as all my friends, and I mean everyone one of them have a DUI. I just got lucky!
And luck will run out, and someone will get hurt.
Thats why I hold myself to those standards, not for me, but for the innocent people I could end up hurting just becasue I was a jackarse.

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 08:11 PM
Just in: NASA-TV tomorrow 1PM EDT News Conference! JSC. Be there.

Oh my,


posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 10:53 PM
This story and the "other" NASA story has masked another story or three, no four, wait, make that five that may be worth noting... but first****

****Clarification important - union troubles with AIM and the "sabotage" are unrelated - confirmed. Repeat: Not AIM union related as has been speculated earlier in some other "MSM" news sources today.****

Yes, there are labour difficulties with the machinists union. Acrimonious, in fact. They don't do sabotage though. The tampering was off-site at a sub-contractor. NASA-IG has the story clamped down.

Der stories:

S-3) Owing to a previous turbo-pump problem (galvanic corrosion) some work was performed on the 4500PSI turbo pump mainshells where they were unbolted and had their thread inserts renewed and staked... petrol-heads will recognize this a a Helicoil-type repair. OK The problem is no one staked or documented the tightening on the bolt-heads of one motor so... as Wayne Hale said today about Endeavour ,"Just like off the showroom floor - brand new".

Yes, Sir Mr. Hale we'll just hop right up there with a caliberated 3/4 drive torque wrench and a hammer and chisel and take care of that right out on the launch pad. How about them "beyond service life" fire bottles Mr. Hale? Next flight? Yes Sir, No Sir, Yes Sir, I do like my job here. Right away Sir. Hmmm, better use the big hammer.

S-4) You folks remember the train wreck where some SRB (Solid Rocket Booster) sections "fell off" this Spring and were damaged? Funny thing that, the replacement sections that "were whipped up" up Utah-way kinda pronto-like for STS-118 are in the current SRB stacks with a different and second batch of solid explosives which at one time violated safety protocols... (matched SRB builds) after Challenger, but not now. Endeavour is the replacement for Challenger. OK. "Just like off the showroom floor - brand new."

S-5) Remember Challenger? Uh, SRB O-Rings have been identified as having unmixed bits of "white flecks" in the butyl compound as identified by ultra-sound and X-Ray. It is unclear for some reason as to whether this flight has any of this batch of O-Rings. OK. "Just like off the showroom floor - brand new.", maybe.

S-6) The NASA-IG and other elements within NASA have been implicated in poitically-influenced decision making.

But wait there's more...

S-7) Today's GAO report on NASA shows only $94 Million dollars in office equipment gone in the last decade. $9.4M poof! Each year.

S-8) How utterly calm and prepared the presenting members present at the Flight Readiness Review News conference were... they've been media-coached. Absolutely ruthless-cool, like Snow.

S-9) Budget FY '08... lotta folks "going away" and not just on hiatus.

I won't even mention Constellation...



[edit on 26-7-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 10:56 PM
Hey, it could be worse, they could be DoD or the Justice Department!!!

posted on Jul, 26 2007 @ 11:31 PM
I guess this is the real reason some astronauts are carried off of their craft!

posted on Jul, 27 2007 @ 03:43 AM
yep, gotta wonder how they can be allowed to drink right before a flight.

i thought they were kept in a type of isolation to prevent them getting sick before a flight (eg: with the flu)

houston, *hic* we have a problem ive *hic* dropped me beer during SRB seperation

heres to another few decades of spaceflight.
cheers nasa!

Mod Edit: Image Hotlinking – Please Review This Link.

[edit on 27/7/2007 by Mirthful Me]

posted on Jul, 27 2007 @ 11:00 PM

Originally posted by dgtempe
Ummm...not very professional is it. Do astronauts "guide" their vehicles or isnt that done remotely?
I guess they only have themselves to worry about and they are not like passenger carriers that are responsible for hundreds of lives.

In any case, its not very professional

Maybe they have to get drunk in order to fly..I dont drink and i would if i was going to do something that daring.

Who knows.

once SRB (solid rocket boosters) are lit they are along for the ride, they cannot be shut down and they have to reach a set altitude before they can even jettison + return to earch incase of emergency.

think of it like a skyrocket, once its lit theres no stopping it.

they dont fly with a stick all the way like a fighter pilot, but they arent along for the ride either. they have to program the flight computer as required and make minor course corrections etc, getting into space is probably like throwing an apple in the air and shooting it with an arrow from 100ft (crude analogy but you get the idea, their "orbit window" is very precise.

jettison the SRB too early and you lose valuable thrust.. jettison too late and they have lost thrust and speed along with it as it starts to burn out, thats why they always jettison with them still lit for a brief period.

they not only have themselves but the rest of the crew to worry about and they have trained and dedicated most of their life to learning the specific role each has to undertake so its an extremely tough job to get into.

so im surprised anyone would be dumb enough to risk their entire career @ nasa over a few celebration beers before flight, risk the lives of their fellow crew and im even more surprised nasa allow them to drink at all within the last day/hours.

posted on Jul, 30 2007 @ 11:05 AM
There are some updates in reaction to last Friday's Astronaut Health Study news conference held at JSC.

Things are about to become more messy from the CBC website a news article from July 30th 2007: "Russia denies astronaut drunk before spaceflight" and "Red flags raised by NASA doctors unheeded: report".

NASA is moving forward with NASA-IG oversight acting on the reviews recommendations from NASA Media and Press site: Findings of Astronaut Health Reviews. Shana dale will be responsible for "what happens next".

The Russian version of events and the American version of events related to alcohol use at Baikonur are not in agreement... yet.

Some say a culture shift into "behavioural care" for astronauts is needed and I can't disagree, but for this and many other reasons at least some parts of NASA are "flight ready" as the astronauts cited these stories. Imagine you are a "clean" astronaut? How would you feel? Flight Surgeons used to be where the "buck stopped", I guess that must've changed. Something "big" is broken, again. How can NASA spell there own spaceship's name incorrectly? NASA Director Griffin has been 100% silent so far... maybe today?

Next news cycle should have some reaction on the differing stories. Some space-related sites are speculating on identities involved.

A non-related but fresh-ish document regarding Apollo Lunar Lander lessons and legacy as recounted by the living Grumman Lunar Lander engineers a transcript of the interviews at the media event on July 20th in PDF at NASA. It is brief and not of a technical nature.



EDIT: To add according to eMediaWire a former UN Diplomat with a wine company in Texas has offered Astronauts a 10% discount on purchases. A link to the article here. There seems to be agreat many humourous articles on the wires today. One would hope that this sort of treatment will pass as the real issues are quite serious.

[edit on 30-7-2007 by V Kaminski]

posted on Jul, 31 2007 @ 08:22 PM
If all NASA's troubles were not enough, today Tuesday July 31st 2007 Endeavour has a cabin leak... it is not serious but another small technical challenge... the Washington Post article: NASA Probing Space Shuttle Cabin Leak


posted on Jul, 31 2007 @ 08:25 PM
I think what's going on is that, for whatever reason, a lot of people expect NASA to be perfect. Forget that they are one of the best, if not THE best agency in the US gov't...they must be PERFECT!!! If only the DoD were held to the same standard...

posted on Jul, 31 2007 @ 09:05 PM
Expecting that astronauts be sober when they launch isn't asking for a heck of a lot. Space is unlike any deployment ever. Drunken astronauts on launch day is a pretty egregious violation.

[edit on 2007/7/31 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jul, 31 2007 @ 09:28 PM
Director Griffin has released a statement in regard to the Astronaut health study, a July 30th article. He seems to take the situation seriously.

In unrelated but news I found of interest is Deputy Director Shana Dale has a blog here and it looks like more blogs will be on the way, the NASA Blog wiki. Times change.

The current cabin leak which was found last Saturday is still ongoing according to in this article the leak is well above norms and may be due to a faulty valve... it is unclear at this point. This problem must be solved before Saturday/Sunday at the latest or the Aug 7th lunch date will slip (which may not be a negative as Endeavour has just been through a five year re-fit).

I actually consider myself a big fan of NASA and follow manned spaceflight pretty closely as a result I see many articles others may not... recently the the less than "great" news has been a bummer, I assure all when there's good news that'll be high on my list of favorites.

There are some good news bits... when Peggy Whitson commands the next ISS increment and when STS-120 visits - it will be the first time in history non-covert orbital command will be entirely female led. I like that.



log in