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Buried: No Evidence Of Drunk NASA Astronauts

From the back pages of the New York Times:

NASA Chief of Safety and Mission Assurance Bryan O’Connor (L) and NASA Administrator Michael Griffin announce the results of a safety review which found no evidence of improper alcohol use by astronauts before space flight in Washington, DC.

Astronauts Were Not Impaired for Missions, NASA Says


WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 — A NASA investigation into astronauts’ use of alcohol before space missions has found no evidence of heavy drinking or drunkenness in the hours prior to launches, according to an agency report released today.

After a month-long review of 20 years of spaceflights conducted by NASA’s safety chief, the former astronaut Bryan D. O’Connor, no evidence could be found to support hearsay claims of astronauts being impaired by alcohol before missions, the report said.

“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,” Mr. O’Connor wrote.

He also said he found no evidence that a flight surgeon or fellow crewmember’s recommendation that an astronaut not fly had ever been disregarded by managers…

Top NASA officials asked Mr. O’Connor to investigate astronaut drinking after a review of spacefarers’ health, released in July, cited two unverified reports of problem drinking before flights.

The health review was one of two that were commissioned after the arrest in February of a former astronaut, Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak of the Navy, who confronted a romantic rival in an Orlando International Airport parking lot…

The health review cited two drinking incidents as examples of situations where the concerns of flight surgeons and other crewmembers had been ignored by other NASA officials before flights.

The chairman of that panel, Colonel Richard E. Bachmann Jr., a physician who commands the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, said the review included the anecdotal references to the drinking incidents to emphasize the seriousness of ignoring flight surgeons. The panel did not ask for details of the accounts, nor did it investigate them, he said…

How typical. The New York Times blared the false allegations on the front page above the fold.

The truth is hidden away on the back pages, in the “Space & Cosmos” section.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, August 29th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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