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Sabotage? Astronauts Flying Drunk? At NASA?

From a delighted Reuters:


NASA probes sabotage, report says pilots flew drunk

By Irene Klotz

Florida (Reuters) – NASA is investigating sabotage of a noncritical computer due to be flown to the International Space Station aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, which was cleared to lift off on August 7, the U.S. space agency said on Thursday.

NASA revealed the sabotage a day ahead of releasing studies that the publication Aviation Week reported had found astronauts were allowed to fly on at least two occasions despite warnings they were so drunk they posed a flight risk.

The damage to wiring in an electronics box was intentional and obvious, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations, Bill Gerstenmaier told reporters at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA found cut cables inside the electronics box, which was being prepared to be loaded into Endeavour’s crew cabin for transport to the $100 billion space station.

NASA was told of the sabotage by a subcontractor, which Gerstenmaier declined to identify, citing an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General.

“It was disclosed to us as soon as the event occurred, about a week and a half ago,” Gerstenmaier said. “The damage is very obvious, easy to detect. It’s not a mystery to us.”

NASA managers believe there is ample time to repair the computer before Endeavour’s liftoff on August 7. The shuttle is scheduled to spend up to 10 days at the space station to install a new structural beam and deliver supplies…

The damage is believed to be the first act of sabotage of flight equipment NASA has discovered, Gerstenmaier and shuttle program manager Wayne Hale said.

The NASA officials declined to discuss Aviation Week’s report that a panel had found that astronauts were allowed to fly drunk at least twice, despite objections from colleagues and flight surgeons.

The publication said the panel, set up by NASA to study astronaut health issues after the arrest in February of former astronaut Lisa Nowak on assault charges, also reported “heavy use of alcohol” by astronauts within 12 hours of launch, which is against NASA rules…

Is nothing sacred?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, July 26th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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