Now what should we believe? A NASA safety review released on Wednesday says that there’s no evidence that astronauts were drunk when they flew into space. The review was conducted by NASA chief of Safety and Mission Assurance Bryan O’Connor, who looked into the last 20 years of NASA spaceflights.
As you may remember, the news of drunken astronauts first came out about a month ago, when an internal safety review turned up two incidents where astronauts were intoxicated just before their launch into space. In one case, a shuttle launch was scrubbed. And in another case, an astronaut went into space aboard a Soyuz rocket.
This new 45-page report by safety chief Bryan O’Connor, a former astronaut himself and one of the Columbia accident investigators, was requested by NASA chief Mike Griffin after the allegations came out.
According to O’Connor, “I was unable to verify any case in which an astronaut spaceflight crewmember was impaired on launch day.” He also didn’t find any situation where a manager disregarded warnings from a NASA employee that an astronaut was unsafe to fly.
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Despite the lack of evidence, O’Connor still suggested that NASA doctors should play a stronger oversight role during launch day, and that NASA should add excessive drinking to its list of risky activities.
In a recent press conference, NASA administrator Mike Griffin noted that there was a 1991 law that directed the space agency to come up with a policy for alcohol testing, but they hadn’t implemented it yet. So, now they’ll probably get going to put something in place.
You can read the full report here.
Original Source: NASA News Release