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schlaugh
2007-Jul-26, 07:13 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/07/26/astronaut.drinking.ap/index.html


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- An independent health panel studying NASA astronauts found "heavy use of alcohol" before launch, according to a published report Thursday.

An independent panel reportedly found that flight surgeons allowed intoxicated astronauts to fly on space shuttle.

Wow....NASA may need to extend the "bottle to throttle" rule a wee bit...

nauthiz
2007-Jul-26, 07:25 PM
It looks like the second part of that quote might be inaccurate - what I read in the linked article was

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.
Sounds to me like the more likely possibility is that the flight surgeon's decision was overruled.

novaderrik
2007-Jul-26, 07:49 PM
well, as long as the people in the 2 front seats of the shuttle aren't drunk, i don't see what the problem is.
they are, after all, normal people that are strapping themselves into a huge glider that is strapped to the side of a tank with a couple million pounds of high explosives in it. a little "liquid courage" isn't too much to ask for. and unless they are really wasted, most of the alcohol is safely out of their system in the hours that they spend sitting on their backs before launch.
but what i want to know is how they get access to booze when they are locked away in the days before the flight, and if that card game they play is really a drinking game....

schlaugh
2007-Jul-26, 07:53 PM
Sorta like that old Bill Dana routine on the Ed Sullivan show (paraphrased from old memory banks:)

Ed: "So how do you prepare for the blast-off?"

Bill (as Jose): "Oh I always take a blast before I take off."

Palomar
2007-Jul-26, 09:33 PM
"Bottle to throttle" rule ... by WHAT quantity? There's a big difference between 1 Martini and a 5th of vodka.

Next thing you know, they'll be freebasing meth on the Shuttle.

So much for heroes and role models...

Nicolas
2007-Jul-26, 10:09 PM
How about space cake?

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2007-Jul-27, 10:47 AM
well, as long as the people in the 2 front seats of the shuttle aren't drunk, i don't see what the problem is.
they are, after all, normal people that are strapping themselves into a huge glider that is strapped to the side of a tank with a couple million pounds of high explosives in it. a little "liquid courage" isn't too much to ask for. and unless they are really wasted, most of the alcohol is safely out of their system in the hours that they spend sitting on their backs before launch.
but what i want to know is how they get access to booze when they are locked away in the days before the flight, and if that card game they play is really a drinking game....


wow...I can think of all kinds of problems that might arise...how would a drunk astronaut react to an emergency?

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2007-Jul-27, 10:48 AM
ps....NASA is messed-up....it needs to be replaced
pps....apparently it was a Soyuz and I can see that happening

Ronald Brak
2007-Jul-27, 11:45 AM
I see a big problem even if they aren't in the cockpit. It costs thousands of dollars per kilogram of astronaut to get them up there and at that price you want them performing at peak efficiency, not recovering from a hangover. Not a good use of taxpayer's funds.

mfumbesi
2007-Jul-27, 11:54 AM
I was under the impression that drinking a lot of alcohol may lead to dehydration, then IMHO these guys are helping out on the weight of the shuttle.
We all know that one liter of water has a mass of 1 kg. Give them a break, they are doing NASA a favour. :liar:

Note:
Tongue firmly in cheek.

Ronald Brak
2007-Jul-27, 12:50 PM
Well then they should do NASA an even bigger favour and develop bulimia before a mission.

Note:
Fingers firmly down throat.

Argos
2007-Jul-27, 01:25 PM
Well, if you can believe The Right Stuff, fighter/test pilots tend to drink a lot. :lol:

Yeah, where are all the romance gone? Do you want a bunch of automated hygienists? Give them a break. I have no problem with their drinking, as long as they get the mission accomplished.

Alcohol is not always incapacitating. See the the rockīnīroll heroes of the seventies. They got the job done regardless of all those things they put in theirs heads. :)

Ronald Brak
2007-Jul-27, 01:36 PM
Yeah, where are all the romance gone? Do you want a bunch of automated hygienists?

Um, yes. NASA has already smacked one load of hardware into my country. I'd like to avoid a second.


Give them a break. I have no problem with their drinking, as long as they get the mission accomplished.

Alcohol is not always incapacitating. See the the rockīnīroll heroes of the seventies. They got the job done regardless of all those things they put in theirs heads.

When a rocker gets drunk and makes some mistakes, word spreads that he's a legend. When a shuttle pilot makes a mistake astronauts get spread over a wide area. I don't think we can compare the two. However, I suppose there may be some merit in making 70's rockers space shuttle pilots. I understand they've had lots of flying high experience.

Argos
2007-Jul-27, 01:38 PM
:) ;)

R.A.F.
2007-Jul-27, 02:24 PM
Alcohol is not always incapacitating.

I cannot believe that an otherwise intelligent person would post such nonsense.

Noclevername
2007-Jul-27, 02:25 PM
Alcohol is not always incapacitating.

As long as you don't ingest any, yes.

dgavin
2007-Jul-27, 02:37 PM
I'm sorry, but you all really need to lighten up and get off your high horses about this.

As the other person said, if a little liquid courage helps an astronaut to relax I don't see the problem.

Speaking from experiance, when I had to do my Demolitions field testing, I was not entirely alcohol free (nor were some of the others) When you rigging a pound of C4 you want to be relaxed, and you definately don't want your hands shaking.

Give the astronauts a break, I don't see any of you strapping yourself to 100 tons of explosive fuel contained in a thin metal casing. . .

Argos
2007-Jul-27, 02:48 PM
@ RAF, noclevername, it was [partially] a tongue-in-cheek comment. But seriously, I understand their reasons. In spite of being, well, a geek, technophile, a reasonably well-informed person, I have an irrational fear of flying machines. I confess I need a drink even for a 40-minute week-day commuter flight.

R.A.F.
2007-Jul-27, 02:58 PM
I'm sorry, but you all really need to lighten up and get off your high horses about this.

Thank you for your opinion, but I refuse to take "advice" from someone who would mix alcohol and high explosives.


...I don't see any of you strapping yourself to 100 tons of explosive fuel contained in a thin metal casing. . .

Completely Irrelevant to this discussion, however if given the opportunity I would gladly hitch a ride to space, and I would do it SOBER.

Doodler
2007-Jul-27, 03:08 PM
"Bottle to throttle" rule ... by WHAT quantity? There's a big difference between 1 Martini and a 5th of vodka.

Next thing you know, they'll be freebasing meth on the Shuttle.

So much for heroes and role models...

Palomar, in 12 hours, you can be stone drunk and recover to functionality.

The freebasing comment is pure strawman.

As far as the role model thing, people really need to get over the "higher standard" crap they impose on high profile people. They become astronauts to pursue personal ambitions and dreams, not to give the unwashed sycophants of the world another pair of buttcheeks to kiss.

And gods only know y'all have heard my opinion of "heroism" often enough. People who look up to others look down on themselves, and I don't particularly consider THEM to be very shining examples of humanity for it.

Get off your knees, stop spitting on people who don't live up to YOUR standards in THEIR personal lives. No one gave you authority to stand in judgement over them.

Kullat Nunu
2007-Jul-27, 03:18 PM
Alcohol is not always incapacitating.

Indeed. In fact, it often gives people abilities they don't to have when they're sober... :liar:

R.A.F.
2007-Jul-27, 03:20 PM
...stop spitting on people who don't live up to YOUR standards in THEIR personal lives. No one gave you authority to stand in judgement over them.

Nice...but totally irrelevant...

The reason I am SO AGAINST this is because it is just PLAIN STUPID to fly drunk, understand?

In case of an emergency, I certainly wouldn't want the astronaut next to me to be drunk, would you?

Tucson_Tim
2007-Jul-27, 03:34 PM
Palomar, in 12 hours, you can be stone drunk and recover to functionality.


Maybe functional but not at your best. This "functionality" may be fine for those of us who have mundane jobs but piloting a shuttle hungover shouldn't be allowed, whether they are "functional" or not.

Dave J
2007-Jul-27, 06:31 PM
Who said it was a pilot? Or a CDR?
The investigation reavealed perhaps two instances, not saying whether the flight was airplane or shuttle, nor what crew positions.
There is a lot of "headline seeking" happening here, I'm certain it will be taken care of.

01101001
2007-Jul-27, 06:50 PM
NASA Findings of Astronaut Health Reviews (http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/astronautreport.html) (Index to mostly PDFs)

FAQ (http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/astronaut_report_FAQ.html)


5. Two instances were noted in the report where astronauts were intoxicated prior to flight, prompting flight surgeons and/or fellow astronauts to raise concerns to leadership. Who were the astronauts who, according to the report, abused alcohol before a flight? Will there be an investigation?
The committee received allegations regarding alcohol use that it did not attempt to confirm or verify. The committee included the comments in its report to NASA, but the committee has not provided NASA the names of individuals or flights involved in the alleged incidents.

NASA is unaware of any astronauts who were intoxicated prior to flight. However, the administrator and deputy administrator have directed an internal review, which will be conducted by the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. Until we have more information, NASA cannot determine the veracity of these claims.

dgavin
2007-Jul-27, 06:58 PM
Thank you for your opinion, but I refuse to take "advice" from someone who would mix alcohol and high explosives.



Completely Irrelevant to this discussion, however if given the opportunity I would gladly hitch a ride to space, and I would do it SOBER.


That's you, however you have -no- right to judge or condemn anyone when you haven't stood in their shoes.

And for the records, after my first qualification I was comfortable enough with handling explosives that I didn't need a drink after that.

Anytime you do something thats extremely dangerous, you want to be relaxed and focused. Especially the first time doing such a task.

I suppose you would also not want astronauts taking pain medications, fever medications, or any other medications they might need.

This is an isolated incident of just 2 cases, and people are acting like its rampant the sky is falling.:hand:

Tucson_Tim
2007-Jul-27, 07:00 PM
Who said it was a pilot? Or a CDR?
The investigation reavealed perhaps two instances, not saying whether the flight was airplane or shuttle, nor what crew positions.
There is a lot of "headline seeking" happening here, I'm certain it will be taken care of.

If it was the shuttle, then I don't think that any of the six should be hungover, much less under the influence. Their jobs are dangerous enough and they owe it to themselves (and everyone else for that matter) to be at their very best. Like I stated earlier, this isn't some mundane job like most of us have.

Fazor
2007-Jul-27, 07:39 PM
Nice...but totally irrelevant...

The reason I am SO AGAINST this is because it is just PLAIN STUPID to fly drunk, understand?

In case of an emergency, I certainly wouldn't want the astronaut next to me to be drunk, would you?

Don't you mean, just plane stupid to fly drunk? (attack of the pun!)

Anyway, I'm totally against not taking responsability for one's own actions, but the article stated that they were clearly drunk, and in violation of NASA's rules regarding consumption. So then, shouldn't the supervisors who allowed them to continue to fly, even though it was obvious they were in violation, be just as at fault in the matter?

I'm a little skeptical however and wonder if, as Dave J called it, "Headline Hunting" may be playing a factor. Particularly in conjuction with the report of sabatage, and the media's persistance to continue to talk about our favorite "love triangle".

I really feel sorry for anyone in NASA's PR dept right now.

novaderrik
2007-Jul-27, 07:56 PM
it's almost as if the "headline seekers" think that the $$$$ that are shot off into space should be spent on some starving kids in Africa. so they find every little fault they can that is even remotely related to the space program, and make it seem like a big deal.
as for the drunk astronauts- i know people that are better drivers when they are drunk- more focussed, better reaction times, obey the speed limits, etc.
not saying i think people should drive drunk- just reporting what i've seen. who knows -maybe these "drunk" astronauts had a couple of celebratory glasses of wine a few hours before liftoff- which is hardly enough to impair someone.

dgavin
2007-Jul-27, 07:57 PM
Well I just read the full report and going to back pedal a bit here.

I could understand a drink maybe two, however the report states that they were "healily intoxicated". Thats definately a no go.

Fazor
2007-Jul-27, 08:45 PM
I will stop short at trying to guess the media's motives, other than obviously publicity and attention, but some red flags in the story are the use of phrases such as "heavily intoxicated", and "checked out by surgeons and medical personel prior to flight". There's no indication of BAC, and when that was measured compaired to flight time.

Either way, the majority of the public doesn't ask or ponder probing questions to these types of articles, and negative press in not what such an important but publically funded organization needs. :doh:

jt-3d
2007-Jul-27, 08:46 PM
How fast we turn on our heros when we find out that they are less than perfect.

If they were so heavily intoxicated, why didn't the flight surgeons ground them? I call media frenzy.

01101001
2007-Jul-27, 10:02 PM
[...] the report states that they were "healily intoxicated".

Missed it. Where does the report state that the astronauts were heavily intoxicated?

I do see a report (http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/astronautreport.html) (PDF) that says:


b. Finding: [...] 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.

They found that instances were described, i.e., they report it was communicated.

Where's the report that states that astronauts actually were found to be intoxicated?

And, hmm, if such a report exists, why does the NASA FAQ (http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/astronaut_report_FAQ.html) say:


NASA is unaware of any astronauts who were intoxicated prior to flight.

Maybe you should let them know the conclusion is in their own report.

tdvance
2007-Jul-27, 10:32 PM
Despite the reputation NASA gets from satellite failures, etc., I have a lot of trouble believing that an astronaut would be allowed to fly the shuttle drunk. That part is almost surely hyping.

Now...the shuttle is mostly automated, but astronauts may have to react in an emergency right at takeoff. Thus, the old rule of waiting at least 12 hours after your last drink before boarding is a good idea, and I'd be very surprised if it were not enforced, and not only that, if astronauts *twice* had the poor judgment to flout the rule.

Something is amiss here--perhaps it's based on a false leak by a disgruntled employee? and yes, no names mentioned, NASA is unaware (yeah, could be the usual denial till they know for sure, but add this to the other info) of intoxicated astronauts flying, and the fact that NASA and the astronauts are VERY conscious of how the media would play anything like that, especially given Challenger and Columbia in the past.

No, so many hard-to-prevent problems can cause mission failures and astronaut deaths, they won't take chances with easy-to-prevent ones.

I doubt even non-pilot astronauts would be let on too intoxicated for safety--they may have to help out in an emergency.

Todd

01101001
2007-Jul-28, 12:05 AM
The details, they trickle. Still so far hearsay.

Washington Post: Soyuz, Shuttle Cited in Drinking Reports (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/27/AR2007072701871.html)


While the report was vague and gave no names, panel chairman Col. Richard Bachmann Jr., provided a few details. He said the panel was told about multiple instances involving alcohol, but the most detailed involved two astronauts.

In the case of the shuttle astronaut, a colleague warned he had had too much to drink but only after the mission was delayed for mechanical reasons, Bachmann said the panel was told. The astronaut had been going to fly a jet from Florida back home to Houston. Bachmann said he didn't know the outcome of that incident.

The second incident, he said, involved warnings of alcohol involving an astronaut flying on the Russians' Soyuz spacecraft headed for the international space station.

R.A.F.
2007-Jul-28, 12:07 AM
Don't you mean, just plane stupid to fly drunk? (attack of the pun!)

Anyway, I'm totally against not taking responsability for one's own actions, but the article stated that they were clearly drunk, and in violation of NASA's rules regarding consumption. So then, shouldn't the supervisors who allowed them to continue to fly, even though it was obvious they were in violation, be just as at fault in the matter?

James Oberg was interviewed earlier today on MSNBC and he stated that the drunkenness was just a symptom of a much bigger problem.

That "bigger" problem was that the supervisors were not allowed to make those "decisions". For example, if an astronaut was taking a pain med, then it was up to the astronaut to determine if it would effect his/her performance.

I know that sounds crazy, but that is pretty much what he said.

In Oberg's opinion, the drinking was pretty far down on the list of things to be concerned about.

Or perhaps I misunderstood...perhaps Mr. Oberg was just looking for a headline. :)

Oh, and dgavin....there is nothing you can tell me about alcohol (it's usage and mis-usage) that I don't know from decades of personal experience, so don't give me that "walk in the shoes" speech. Don't even try.

Dragon Star
2007-Jul-28, 12:13 AM
"Bottle to throttle" rule ... by WHAT quantity? There's a big difference between 1 Martini and a 5th of vodka.

Next thing you know, they'll be freebasing meth on the Shuttle.

So much for heroes and role models...

This is such an over-reaction, as much of the controversy is.

What's the big deal? They want to take part in something they enjoy too? It's not as if they took liquor with them and drank it while conducting experiments...there is nothing unsafe about it. Unprofessional, perhaps, but they were only drunk at the time of launch. I mean really...not like they had painted lines to say between. "Houston, press the button to initiate computer launch please."

Heroes and roll models? LOL. By your standards they likely never existed.

R.A.F.
2007-Jul-28, 12:26 AM
...there is nothing unsafe about it. Unprofessional, perhaps, but they were only drunk at the time of launch

I continue to be astonished by the answers I am reading. You can't be that ignorant about the effects of alcohol, can you??


I am afraid that I will have to remove myself from this thread...the irrationality of some of the responders is making me ill.

Dragon Star
2007-Jul-28, 12:40 AM
I continue to be astonished by the answers I am reading. You can't be that ignorant about the effects of alcohol, can you??


I am afraid that I will have to remove myself from this thread...the irrationality of some of the responders is making me ill.

Give me some examples instead if just huffing and puffing, what do you expect to go wrong? Do you think this hasn't happened over the lifetime of NASA? What about every other explosive thing ever developed, no drinking there either, right? Drinking occurs in probably every occupation there is, and suddenly you're surprised? Save the drama.

Alcohol is impairing, but it's not an acid trip for Pete's Sake.

Tucson_Tim
2007-Jul-28, 01:48 AM
I continue to be astonished by the answers I am reading.

I'm with you R.A.F. I can't believe it either.

Another point: Let's assume for now that it is the shuttle and there were instances where astronauts were under the influence at launch time. How often does the shuttle go up? Four times a year? How often does an individual astronaut get to go up every year? Once or twice maybe? How much is it to ask that they refrain from drinking on the day before they go up? I don't care if they drink themselves into the gutter when they're "off duty" but why can't we expect them to be sober and not hungover at launch time?

dgavin
2007-Jul-28, 02:05 AM
Missed it. Where does the report state that the astronauts were heavily intoxicated?

I do see a report (http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/astronautreport.html) (PDF) that says:



They found that instances were described, i.e., they report it was communicated.

Where's the report that states that astronauts actually were found to be intoxicated?

And, hmm, if such a report exists, why does the NASA FAQ (http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/features/astronaut_report_FAQ.html) say:



Maybe you should let them know the conclusion is in their own report.

Here is the quote from thier own report. The phrase was Heavy Use, not heavilly intoxicated, so I stand corrected there.




b. Finding: 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.

dgavin
2007-Jul-28, 02:12 AM
James Oberg was interviewed earlier today on MSNBC and he stated that the drunkenness was just a symptom of a much bigger problem.

That "bigger" problem was that the supervisors were not allowed to make those "decisions". For example, if an astronaut was taking a pain med, then it was up to the astronaut to determine if it would effect his/her performance.

I know that sounds crazy, but that is pretty much what he said.

In Oberg's opinion, the drinking was pretty far down on the list of things to be concerned about.

Or perhaps I misunderstood...perhaps Mr. Oberg was just looking for a headline. :)

Oh, and dgavin....there is nothing you can tell me about alcohol (it's usage and mis-usage) that I don't know from decades of personal experience, so don't give me that "walk in the shoes" speech. Don't even try.

If you noticed I back pedled some after reading the report. However I was refering more to the hazordous jobs by "Walk in shoes", especialy when done the first time.

I was thinking that it was a drink or two people were up in arms over, but the report said Heavy Use. Which implies somethign else all toghether.

So also, apoologies for how I came of there.

peteshimmon
2007-Jul-28, 11:39 AM
Surely this is a self correcting problem to
some extent. If someone is a bit inebriated
what are the possible quick cures in this
World? Yes, thats right...the sound and fury
and g-forces of a Shuttle launch with the
person strapped inside should do the trick!
Just a slight change of clothing once in orbit
and Hey! ready for duty.

Don't believe it would work for me though. Even
if I had had a few drinks I think I could still
hold back a JCB that was trying to drag me
to the top of a rocket.

Damburger
2007-Jul-28, 02:20 PM
Its really not expecting too much of astronauts to want them sober. Seriously, flying into space is an amazing opportunity and people who want to do it sozzled aren't appreciating that. If we can expect our bus drivers to come to work sober, why can't we expect astronauts to? In fact, I can't think of a single job where its acceptable to be drunk.

Argos
2007-Jul-28, 02:50 PM
In fact, I can't think of a single job where its acceptable to be drunk.

Rockīnīroll, rockīnīroll. :)

I remember a Russian astronaut wanting the alcohol ban to be lifted, some time ago, 'to ease the stress'.

Damburger
2007-Jul-28, 02:51 PM
Rockīnīroll, rockīnīroll... :)

And the fans don't normally apperciate it if the musician is mentally incompetent whilst on stage. They prefer to keep the lifestyle seperate from the music.

Argos
2007-Jul-28, 02:56 PM
And the fans don't normally apperciate it if the musician is mentally incompetent whilst on stage.

As a fan, I never thought like that. Iīve seen superb drunk performances. :)

01101001
2007-Jul-28, 04:02 PM
From the other-hand department:

LA Times: NASA to probe alcohol use; ex-astronauts doubt reports (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-sci-nasa28jul28,1,6964393.story?coll=la-news-a_section)


NASA officials vowed Friday to investigate reports that astronauts were drunk before missions on at least two occasions. But several former astronauts questioned the claims, saying they were too closely monitored for anyone to risk breaking the rules on drinking before a flight.

"I didn't see any use of alcohol that infringed safety," said Tom Jones, who served on four shuttle missions before retiring in 2001. "I didn't see any flight surgeons who would have hesitated to blow the whistle."

Susan Kilrain, who left the astronaut corps in 2002, said "there weren't even any rumors" of astronauts flying drunk.

NASA officials said at a news conference in Washington that the reports of drinking, drawn from anonymous interviews, were unconfirmed.

Jens
2007-Jul-30, 03:19 AM
The media may be playing this up a bit, but you have to keep in mind that there are many people -- like me -- who were shocked to hear that. Not that I have a real problem with it, but I just assumed that astronauts would board rockets really sober, and it comes as a real surprise to find that they drink before missions. And if people are going to be shocked by it, then I think it goes without saying that the media will play it up.

I'd definitely want to be drunk if I ever got on one of those things, BTW.

CJSF
2007-Jul-30, 04:53 PM
What is wrong with some of you? NOTHING to worry about during launch!? That is one of the most (if not THE most) critical stages of the mission! If something goes wrong even before ignition, would you want a drunk astronaut to help you get out the hatch and to the escape system? What if something happens and you need to activate the emergency oxygen (like the Challenger crew did), but you are partially incapacitated? Oh, good thing that DRUNK CREWMATE is there to quickly and safely activate YOURS!

One drink - ONE DRINK - can and often does impair reflex time and on-the-fly decision making. I can MAYBE trick myself into believing that performing a high-risk, but "by the numbers" task, it could help to be more relaxed.. but for an emergency at or around launch time, that might require some real "seat-of-the-pants" action?

I'm with R.A.F., I think I'm outta this one - its patently ridiculous that this would be shrugged off by ANYONE.

CJSF

Fazor
2007-Jul-30, 08:45 PM
I'm with R.A.F., I think I'm outta this one - its patently ridiculous that this would be shrugged off by ANYONE
Well, from what I see, there's few of us that would shrug it off if it does indeed turn out to be true. I can't speak for the others, but I personally doubt the validity of the claims. Am I saying they can't possibly be true? No. Am I holding my breath for the final findings? No. Have any of you ever been in a job where your life very much depended on the person seated next to you? Do you really think that the "bond of brotherhood" between the astronauts would be stronger than the "I don't want to die because YOU are drunk"? Again, I'm not saying the claims are impossible, but I kinda doubt them.

Lurker
2007-Jul-30, 08:45 PM
hmmmmm... I am expected to show up for work each day sober and would be relieved of my responsibilities if I showed up in any condition that was less than sober. It doesn't seem too much to me to ask those who are about to take one of the most most complex machines man has ever made in to earth-orbit to show up sober on launch day...

but then that's just me... :whistle:

Fazor
2007-Jul-30, 09:04 PM
hmmmmm... I am expected to show up for work each day sober and would be relieved of my responsibilities if I showed up in any condition that was less than sober. It doesn't seem too much to me to ask those who are about to take one of the most most complex machines man has ever made in to earth-orbit to show up sober on launch day...

but then that's just me... :whistle:


True, but if someone simply anonymously accused me of being drunk at work, but there was no supporting evidence of such claims, I'd be a little upset if I got fired over it. That's what they're doing now, looking for support for said claims. (...or trying to figure out how to burry the claims without anyone noticing... :whistle:)

Lurker
2007-Jul-30, 11:01 PM
True, but if someone simply anonymously accused me of being drunk at work, but there was no supporting evidence of such claims, I'd be a little upset if I got fired over it. That's what they're doing now, looking for support for said claims. (...or trying to figure out how to burry the claims without anyone noticing... :whistle:)
No one has meantioned any names as far as I have seen. It looks like some new policies are going to be put in place... I don't see the difficulty with that. If there is no issue then abstaining from alcohol before a flight won't be much of a problem now will it...

Noclevername
2007-Jul-31, 03:15 AM
Considering what astronauts go through to get ready for a launch, I severly doubt that they'd allow anyone to get anywhere near a shuttle while drunk.

Lurker
2007-Jul-31, 04:26 PM
Considering what astronauts go through to get ready for a launch, I severly doubt that they'd allow anyone to get anywhere near a shuttle while drunk.
Could be... but either way, there should be no issue with a more strict monitoring of the 12 hr. rule. If it is not being broken then a more strict effort to monitor it will show this to be true.

Irishman
2007-Jul-31, 09:05 PM
Fazor, you are having a different conversation than R.A.F.. He is responding to comments like

As the other person said, if a little liquid courage helps an astronaut to relax I don't see the problem.

and

What's the big deal? They want to take part in something they enjoy too? It's not as if they took liquor with them and drank it while conducting experiments...there is nothing unsafe about it. Unprofessional, perhaps, but they were only drunk at the time of launch.

Me, I am totally shocked by the accusations. Given that I work at NASA and I would be in deep kimshee if I showed up intoxicated, I can't believe they'd let an astronaut onto the Shuttle drunk, or into a T-38 drunk.

Now the details of the mentioned events are completely missing. The best we've been given is that one astronaut was drunk for launch on a Soyuz, (not playing by U.S. rules?), and one was reported drunk after the flight was scrubbed for mechanical issues when he wanted to fly a T-38 to Houston. Was he drunk before the flight was scrubbed and it wasn't reported till later, or did he have a couple after the flight was scrubbed, then decide to fly to Houston and somebody noticed? It's not clear from what has been said, but those are details for the investigation. There was also mention that there were some other alchohol incidents, but because these two were stressed, they seem the most significant. We're not given information to characterize the other supposed incidents. Again, more for the investigation to straighten out.

Lurker
2007-Jul-31, 09:29 PM
I don't know if the allegations, are true, but I am disgusted that there are those who would hold them people to a lesser standard than the rest of us are held to. I would most likely be dismissed immediately if I showed up to work drunk, I would certainly not be allowed to work.

It seems to me that it is not too much to ask that a professional show up sober to perform his job. If that's too much to ask of an astronaut, there is really is something wrong with the program.

JonClarke
2007-Aug-01, 09:03 AM
[QUOTE=Irishman;1040367The best we've been given is that one astronaut was drunk for launch on a Soyuz, (not playing by U.S. rules?), and one was reported drunk after the flight was scrubbed for mechanical issues when he wanted to fly a T-38 to Houston. QUOTE]

There has been an official denial of the Soyuz launch incident by Roskosmos http://www.space.com/news/070729_ap_russian_drunk.html , which leaves the T-38 incident.

It is look more and more like a beat up to me.

Jon

Irishman
2007-Aug-01, 04:24 PM
See, this is what is frustrating, we have some rumors of second-hand reports during an investigation into crew behavior, but little details (like who and when). The investigation itself only repeated the rumors and did not investigate to get corroboration or provide more information publicly. That is very frustrating - they're reporting that codes of behavior were violated but did not confirm the situation themselves. It's a possible red flag, but may be either misinterpretations of events, or distorted information, or someone getting retribution against a fellow crew mate. Or there may be behavior that is surruptitiously occurring that really does need to be identified. WE DO NOT KNOW YET.

I hope the current investigation into the details will provide us a better idea of what really happened.

As far as holding them to a lesser standard, there is one potential factor to consider. Theoretically, that is why there are backup crew members, trained alongside the primary crew and available for last minute replacement. Note that is what happened on Apollo 13, when Ken Mattingly came down sick at the last minute. Practically, can you imaging the image for NASA if, after all the press workup, they had to announce a last minute crew member change for the ISS mission? "NEWS FLASH!!! Astronaut replaced at last minute. Mission Engineer Teddy Ruxpin was replaced at the last minute during loading of the Shuttle for being "under the weather". Astronaut Fuzzy Wuzzy was assigned as his replacment. Rumors have it that Ruxpin was drunk as a skunk and flight doctors pronounced him "unfit for duty". "

I could certainly see some pressure from a PR perspective to let something like that go unnoticed, reprimand the astronaut in private but carry on the public perception. Not because I think the bulk of NASA employees would be happy with that, but I can see some motivation for the decision makers and high level managers. That's the only reason this story has any credibility - there exists a potential motivation. Still, without evidence it actually occurred, potential motivations don't mean much.

novaderrik
2007-Aug-01, 06:52 PM
what, exactly, constitutes being "drunk" or "under the influence of alcohol" in the world of NASA?
and how many millions of dollars are being spent to figure all this out?

transreality
2007-Aug-02, 12:10 AM
Do we also know more such as about recovery from hangover in zero-G?

Tucson_Tim
2007-Aug-02, 12:14 AM
Do we also know more such as about recovery from hangover in zero-G?

Well, vomit in zero-G must be pretty ugly. :)

transreality
2007-Aug-02, 12:22 AM
yeah, are zero-G toilets designed to be thrown up into?

NEOWatcher
2007-Aug-02, 01:16 PM
yeah, are zero-G toilets designed to be thrown up into?
No such thing as throwing UP in zero-G. :shifty:

Irishman
2007-Aug-02, 07:38 PM
Air sickness bags. Just like airline flight, or the "vomit comet".

Nicolas
2007-Aug-03, 11:51 AM
Vomitting is quite common in space flight (has "something to do" with accelerations, unusual lack of gravity...). Not alcohol induced though.

but anyway, let's get the judgement after the facts.

schlaugh
2007-Aug-03, 01:55 PM
Drinking, barfing...the ISS is now a frat house in space - Nu Alpha Sigma Alpha!

01101001
2007-Aug-08, 02:44 AM
Aviation Week: Astronauts 'Not Seeing' Alcohol Abuse (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/booze080707.xml&headline=Astronauts%20'Not%20Seeing'%20Alcohol%20A buse&channel=space)


Administrator Michael Griffin says NASA is taking allegations of preflight alcohol abuse by astronauts seriously, but three weeks after an outside medical panel briefed him on the charges he says he's getting exactly the opposite picture from the astronaut corps.

"Since the release of this report I have talked to dozens of members of the astronaut office, both current and former, and I can't find anyone who is other than appalled by the claims which were made," Griffin told Aviation Week Aug. 6. "The uniform sentiment among the astronauts is 'we're not seeing this.' I would tell you, by the dozens the astronauts are coming forward and saying 'we're not seeing this behavior that was cited in this report.'"
[...]
"There is a huge discrepancy between the picture of the astronaut office and the interaction with flight surgeons as characterized by the committee and the picture which I see," Griffin said. "Now, we need to understand that discrepancy, because the allegations which are made, if true - and I want to emphasize, if true - are very serious, and if true they require serious management attention, and there will be - if true - consequences for some people, and that can't be done lightly."

Click Ticker
2007-Aug-08, 03:05 PM
In defense of drunk astronauts:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/CharlesKrauthammer/2007/08/03/in_defense_of_drunk_astronauts

Good article. Kind of funny.

01101001
2007-Aug-08, 03:24 PM
In defense of drunk astronauts:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/CharlesKrauthammer/2007/08/03/in_defense_of_drunk_astronauts

We covered that in the second drunk-astronauts thread (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/63052-new-take-drunk-astronauts-mess.html).

Lurker
2007-Aug-08, 05:55 PM
This seems to me to be very simple. No one has yet suggested firing anyone, nor digging up the past. There has, however, been a suggestion that strict monitoring be made to make sure that astronauts are not intoxicated at liftoff or at any other time while they are in space... sounds pretty reasonable to me.

WHarris
2007-Aug-08, 05:57 PM
The commander of STS118, Scott Kelly, had a few rather pointed things to say about this report (http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/08/08/shuttle.commander/index.html).

Laguna
2007-Aug-08, 06:41 PM
From the article...

CNN Space Correspondent Miles O'Brien
Now what else could you become with that name? :lol:

01101001
2007-Aug-30, 03:27 PM
Aviation Week: Astronauts 'Not Seeing' Alcohol Abuse (http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/booze080707.xml&headline=Astronauts%20'Not%20Seeing'%20Alcohol%20A buse&channel=space)

Nor apparently is NASA's Astronaut Health Care System Review Committee.

I don't know why it was made a new thread, instead of appearing here, but the NASA investigation is reported concluded in topic: NASA releases Space Flight Safety Review (Alcohol use in the Preflight Period) (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/64065-nasa-releases-space-flight-safety-review-alcohol-use-preflight-period.html).


Within the scope and limitations of this review, I was unable to verify any case in which an astronaut spaceflight crewmember was impaired on launch day, or any case where a manager of a flight surgeon or co-crewmember disregarded their recommendation that a crewmember not fly Shuttle or Soyuz.

It only seems fair, to those who might read it in the future, to note in, and hopefully to wrap up, this thread with that conclusion.

schlaugh
2008-Jan-24, 08:55 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/24/us/24astro.html

2nd Survey Finds Astronauts Haven’t Drunk Before Flights
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 — A new survey of astronauts and flight surgeons shows no evidence of crew members’ going on space missions drunk or impaired by alcohol, NASA (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_aeronautics_and_space_administration/index.html?inline=nyt-org) officials said Wednesday.

The anonymous survey, taken over the Internet by all 31 NASA flight surgeons and 87 of 98 current astronauts, is the second recent investigation to find no indication of drunkenness among astronauts immediately before launching into space.

The inquiries responded to a report last year that cited two unconfirmed incidents in which an astronaut was reportedly impaired by alcohol before flying.

The new survey found one isolated incident involving “an apparent interaction between prescription medication and alcohol,” Ellen Ochoa, deputy director of the Johnson Space Center and a former astronaut, said on a conference call with reporters.