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Fluffybunny

Drunk Astronauts

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I really don't have a hard time believing this at all...my guess would be that a lot of astronauts have tipped several back the night before their flight; I would and I don't even drink...

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

Thu Jul 26, 4:42 PM ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - 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.

Link to rest of story

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Frankly, were I a crew member on a shuttle mission where I knew that the pilot was hammered...I wouldn't go up! (Well, I would probably never go up anyway but that's beside the point here). I wonder exactly how true all of this really is? I mean, there's a big difference between having a couple of drinks the night before and taking off in the AM totally blitzed!

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The stories are that on at least two occasions NASA allowed crews to fly, despite doctors warning them that the crew were in no fit state to do so.

Later today NASA will be holding a press conference to announce the findings of a review into astronaut health issues. This review was prompted by the Lisa Nowak affair. This drinking issue show be clearer after this conference.

Once NASA issue the official statement I will post it in the Space News forum.

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Personally, I think that story is designed to take the attention away from this story-

Sabotage

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given the explosions in the past, I wouldn't go up unless was a little sloshed... unless I was the pilot, but even then not much piloting to do going up, no?

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Personally, I think that story is designed to take the attention away from this story-

Sabotage

Well hardly, no organisation wants two bad news stories in one day. If you were going to try and distract the public from bad news you would do it by issuing good news. Besides which this was the report of a committee which has been reviewing NASA's astronaut health policy since February.

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Personally, I think that story is designed to take the attention away from this story-

Sabotage

it seems like it would be a better idea to create a cover story that has a positive spin...some advancement...spotting a Taco Bell on Mars...something to make people think that although there was a crackpot or two in the ranks that the money is well spent.

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it seems like it would be a better idea to create a cover story that has a positive spin...some advancement...spotting a Taco Bell on Mars...something to make people think that although there was a crackpot or two in the ranks that the money is well spent.

Exactly, we have a saboture in our midst, but don't worry about that because our astronauts are leg-less doesn't really do it for me.

Incidentally on the subject of the "drunk astronauts" I have reproduced some of the results of the inquiry HERE in the Space News section. The two accusations of drunkenness before flying do not state whether the astronauts were drunk before a shuttle flight, a Soyuz flight or a T38 aircraft training flight.

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given the explosions in the past, I wouldn't go up unless was a little sloshed... unless I was the pilot, but even then not much piloting to do going up, no?

yea-- i would think more than a few had to "tip-the bottle" to fire up the rockets on that "flying coffin" !

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yea-- i would think more than a few had to "tip-the bottle" to fire up the rockets on that "flying coffin" !

That "flying coffin" has carried out more successful missions than any other spacecraft in history. Space is dangerous but NASA has still lost more astronauts in air crashes than they have in shuttle accidents.

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Alright, folks...

I have been hearing this story all day, over-inflated and mis-represented by the mainstream media. Several statements have been written in news articles and stated on radio and TV broadcasts that are extrapolations.

I have heard that on two occassions, some astronaut or astronauts were actually inebriated when they went out to launch...an utterly insane and stupid statement in and of itself, and even more stupid since the allegations are not specific about that.

This,

After drinking heavily, an astronaut flew on a Russian spacecraft and another was cleared to launch on a space shuttle...

Oh, now its a Russian spacecraft too.

In the case of the shuttle, the mission was delayed for mechanical reasons and the astronaut wanted to fly a jet from Florida back home to Houston, said Col. Richard Bachmann Jr., head of the panel, created to assess astronaut health. He said he didn't know the outcome.

Wait a minute...the drunken astronaut was cleared to fly on the shuttle, then the countdown was scrubbed, and the astronaut then wanted to fly home, presumably drunk?

Bachmann, an aerospace medical specialist with the Air Force, said his panel deliberately did not seek out pertinent details, such as exactly when the heavy drinking occurred. The overriding concern, he said, was that flight surgeons were ignored.

They're telling me that flight surgeons noted the drunkeness, said something about it, and they werre ignored, and an astronaut actually boarded a shuttle in that condition?

This guy didn't seek out pertinent details?

"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," the panel. "However, the individuals were still permitted to fly."

We're back to two astrronauts inebriated on launch day. And we are to believe that the spacecraft commander...who runs the show, didn't scrap it all? Unless, of course, it WAS the spacecraft commander... :D

"The medical certification of astronauts for flight duty is not structured to detect such episodes, nor is any medical surveillance program by itself likely to detect them or change the pattern of alcohol use,"

WHAT????

Um...pre-flight checkout prior to suit up....Oh, say, T minus 4 hours and counting: "Gee, Suni, you smell like a brewery and you've got a decidedly red look in the eyeballs there...you been tipping the bottle a but, eh?

"Yep (hic...) I'm going to the spashe stashunnnn...whoopee, man!"

DOCTOR TO LAUNCH DIRECTOR: "This is the flight surgeon, Suni Williams is drunk down here."

LAUNCH DIRECTOR: "Aw hell that's OK, let her go, it's no big deal."

And all the while, the spacecraft commander is sitting there giggling at her...

Right...

I love this:

Bachmann and his group acknowledged that some of the cultural issues cited in the report have existed since the beginning of the astronaut program. The early spacemen were fighter pilots who often lived and drank hard; that was the essence of being a test pilot, recalled Seymour Himmel, a retired NASA executive.

Early spacemen were TEST PILOTS...RESEARCH PILOTS, just like today's pilot astronauts. That's a huge step up from the typical fighter jock. They were, and are a different breed from the typical fighter jock. They were, and are more measured, infinitely more studious, and a hell of a lot more careful. No test pilot is getting into an airplane or a SPACECRAFT DRUNK! All test pilots live hard. Most of them could down a few beers too. However, drinking and flying was not ever in their mix. No pilot drinks and flies.

The story has already gone way over the edge.

We know nothing about the specifics of the allegations, and nothing about who was involved, or when this ridiculous situation is supposed to have happened or in exactly what circumstances. Nor do we know anything about the allegor, since the reports are based upon unsubstantiated and unidentified sources!

Listening to this stuff is driving me nuts! Someone actually said today, on a radio show, that the astronauts don't do anything during the launch anyway...that it's all automatic and that they just sit there!

That's utterly insane.

These people flying on a Shuttle have trained for upwards of 2 years to be prepared to execute every phase of their highly complex mission to perfection. This includes the launch phase, in which everyone has tasks and must be prepared to execute at a moment's notice. If you've ever actually watched a crew ingress and the pre-flight litany, you will clearly note that the flight crew is busy executing hundreds upon hundreds of steps in a complex checklist, designed to prep and verify that every single aspect of the most complex flying machine every built is ready to fly. It's snap-snap, crisp calls, rapid systematic execution, and everyone talks, especially the CDR and PLT, who are constantly talking and executing for three hours prior to launch!

Someone's trying to tell me that Houston Flight, The Kennedy Launch Director, the White Room Crew, the Launch Test Conductor and Superviosor, who are intently listening to every single thing being done in this critically intense period, wouldn't detect a little delay in response, a slur in the voice (after all....fellow crewmen were complainign about peoplem being too drunk to fly, and flight surgeons who examined all these people complained too, right?), and get on the private loop and start hammering?

Give me a break.

Is there any idea at all of what these people are doing in that thing? And further, that they must all be ready to execute a number of possible aborts at any moment during ascent, ranging from contingencies that will involve them bailing out, to some pretty intense flying skills? And, that there are multitudinous flying and other tasks required in snap-snap fashion, by everyone once they attain orbit?

Look:

It may well be true that in crew quarters, some alcohol may be served these days. I have no problem with that, but these folks' meals are prepared for them, they're monitored and sequestered in the few days prior to flight, they are a multi-million dollar investment, each one of them, and there's a whole squadron of people taking care of their every need in those days prior to flight. Who's letting them get drunk?

Is it possible that liquor is smuggled into crew quarters?

Further, each launch is the beginning of the crew's day, whatever the launch time. The crews get up, shower, get checked out, have a meal, which is always filmed and broadcast (alcohol for breakfast...I love the idea), suit up, and head to the pad, fresh, and ready for a very intense period of activity. How does one get drunk in that short amount of time between waking up and getting on board (2 1/2-3 hours, under constant attention)?

Being from the prior era, it's inconceivable. A Shuttle countdown and the pre-launch prep are longer that an Apollo countdown and pre-launch prep. It is a much more complex machine. You have to be dead-on to do this stuff, and as our flight crews have shown, they are dead-on, all the way through.

There is far too much talk about this matter alrteady, without anything concrete to base it upon. There is rampant speculation, and utter silliness being put forth, all in the interest of a media firestorm.

As NASA's chief of space operations, Bill Gerstenmaier said yesterday, "There's not been any disciplinary action or anything I've been involved with regarding this type of activity." I wonder why? He also said, when asked if he ever had to personally deal with a safety issue involving an inebriated astronaut in space, he said, "The obvious answer is no..."

I also wonder why he said that.

Because, it's never happened. How could it?

This whole thing, from unsubstantiated sources, is smeling pretty fishy to me.

We need to know who, and when.

I am dubious that such information will be forthcoming. It is inconceivable that the sytem would allow this sort of thing to happen.

However, if it pans out...and this sort of thing is substantiated...well, a bunch of astronauts, launch directors, and other folks intimately assoctated with manned space fliht, are out of jobs immediately...

But somehow, I'm thinking this smells too much to be true.

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given the explosions in the past, I wouldn't go up unless was a little sloshed... unless I was the pilot, but even then not much piloting to do going up, no?

Yes, there is...and alot of readiness and preparation for many scenarios....

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great post MID :tu: well worth the read to everyone posting on these topics

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given the explosions in the past, I wouldn't go up unless was a little sloshed... unless I was the pilot, but even then not much piloting to do going up, no?

Personally, I don't think I could get the courage to go up even if I was completely toasted! (I'm not too keen on heights). Once in space I'd probably be ok....but then there's the *back down* to deal with! :cry:

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I really don't have a hard time believing this at all...my guess would be that a lot of astronauts have tipped several back the night before their flight; I would and I don't even drink...

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

Thu Jul 26, 4:42 PM ET

Link to rest of story

Fluff...

I think Marcia Dunn is not a pilot, let alone an astronaut who has prepared for years to do what she would be about to do, and is therefore making insanely stupid comments...generated from a layman's perspective (...man in a tin can, floating far above the Moon with nothing to do, etc...)

I wouldn't tip a few back the night before a flight, and I couldn't. If I had trained for two years to execute, and my pink hiney was on the line based upon my actions, you can be assured that I would be awake, aware, and totally alert on launch day. There's too much at stake, and some entity would've invested millions in my training...

Besides, even IF one could tip back a few the day before a flight, which is highly implausible, that wouldn't make you drunk on launch day!

;)

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great post MID :tu: well worth the read to everyone posting on these topics

Thank you, DArk...I appreciate your compliment!

:tu:

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Posted (edited)

Let alone the mess you would cause aboard the shuttle when you hurl traveling at 11.2 km/s :D

edit: anytime MID I'll keep complimenting if you keep up the great posts

Edited by DДrk_Lotu§

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Personally, I don't think I could get the courage to go up even if I was completely toasted! (I'm not too keen on heights). Once in space I'd probably be ok....but then there's the *back down* to deal with! :cry:

Oh, I know that!!!!

You know, if you were drunk and you went up...3 g's accelleration and such, then, zero g suddenly...you know what would happen??

Picture a green complexion and vomit...

I'm trying to think of that scenario....I once flew tipsy on an airplane at night, long ago...at night in instrument conditions. It was an experiment so I could learn what happens to you in such conditions (I was not pilot in command, by the way...I was flying right seat). That is not a pleasant experience!

I can not imagine, being launched drunk (or even a wee tipsy), having several g's plopped against me, and then sudeenly, being tossed forward in my seat straps with that momentary feeling of falling, and expect to be functional, let alone being able to hold my breakfast!

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oh god flying on planes and drinking... not a good idea and so bloody expensive too lol

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Let alone the mess you would cause aboard the shuttle when you hurl traveling at 11.2 km/s :D

edit: anytime MID I'll keep complimenting if you keep up the great posts

There you go! Hurling at 11.2 KMS...that's the net result! Think of that happening in zero gee (where's there's no "down"...or "up" for that matter... and you get the picture exactly! And most of us don't need a visual for that scenario!

I'll do my best on the posts, DArk...thanks!

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This whole thing, from unsubstantiated sources, is smeling pretty fishy to me.

This is exactly what the NASA Astronaut Health Care System Review Committee Report to the Administrator says on the subject:

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. Alcohol is freely used in crew quarters. 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. However, the individuals were still permitted to fly. The medical certification of astronauts for flight duty is not structured to detect such episodes, nor is any medical surveillance program by itself likely to detect them or change the pattern of alcohol use.

Source: NASA Astronaut Health Care System Review Committee Report to the Administrator (81 Kb PDF)

However NASA points out the following:

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.

Source: Findings of Astronaut Health Reviews, Frequently Asked Questions

It seems to me that this is a cause for concern and indeed the whole attitude towards the mental health of the astronauts. I do think that we have to move away from a finger pointing exercise and towards an improvement in these matters.

Did it really happen? I don't think it really matters. What is actually important is whether there was the possibility that it could have happened. What is important now is that NASA takes the necessary steps to ensure that no such thing can happen in the future and takes the necessary steps to protect the mental health of it's astronauts. Lisa Nowak's very public break down may just save the life of a crew in future, an astronaut with mental health issues on a flight to Mars could be a serious issue.

We have seen a vast improvement in NASA since the loss of Columbia, I strongly believe that they will take seriously these recommendations and continue to move forward. I worked for more than twenty years in quality control, one of my bosses was fond of saying, "the perfect organisation never makes mistakes, but the perfect organisation doesn't exist. The best organisations recognise their mistakes and do something about them". We will see if NASA is one of the best organisations once again. I believe they are.

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You know, if you were drunk and you went up...3 g's accelleration and such, then, zero g suddenly...you know what would happen??

Picture a green complexion and vomit...

Kind of like this: linked-image ?

Another reason why I'd never do any of this...I hate puking!

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Kind of like this: linked-image ?

Another reason why I'd never do any of this...I hate puking!

:D ...yea, just like that!

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I was reading an article about astronauts taking a little nip before launch and how scandal like that is and couldn't help but think, the world is turning into a playground for lames and larrys. Who cares if they have a little drink before launch, as long as their not the pilot or copilot who cares. These guys have the craziest job in the world, I don't blame them if they need a little liquid courage. Its funny too but the quetsions they asked were supposed to be anonomous, which shouldn't include releasing the results to the public so that without knowing who exactly does it every nincumpoop will assign it to all astronauts. Im really tired of some of the dumbest people in creation(journalists) deciding whats news worthy, these dummies are clueless.

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Oct18/0,4...ronauts,00.html

Edited by Stixxman

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"You have this buildup of tension. You go out there and then it gets scrubbed, then you don't know when you're going to go. ... There were definitely times when people drank during that period. Duh. But I don't think it was ever an issue before a mission, like the day of or the day before."

NASA Flight Surgeons say "Duh". :mellow:

"It's like a football team that's got a really bad record. You've got to pull yourself up and reinvent yourself and do a better job," he said. "In my estimation, it could be one of the best things that happens to NASA."

We'll... they are close to Miami, I wonder if there's something to that? :ph34r::P

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