Flying with a Buzz On
Rumors circulating yesterday have been confirmed by Dana Shale, the NASA deputy administrator during a press conference this morning. Alchohol abuse prior to launch has been identified.
Apparently there's been at least one case of a Soyuz launch and a Shuttle launch where an astronaut in each case has been a bit toasted prior to the launch. The astronaut corps is again demonstrating that astronauts are in fact just human. The 8 hour minimum rule that many pilots adhere to or the 12 hour rule the astronauts are supposed to follow for T-38 flights, was apparently ignored or not enforced.
Troubling news is that apparently up until now, the astronauts have had no access to alchohol abuse counseling and the like. I wouldn't be surprised if NASA administrators avoided having it in the job perqs because it might give the appearance that some astronauts needed it. No BAC tests either, which is a shame.
I can imagine that for many of the astronauts on a shuttle launch, who are basically "spam in a can", being lightly toasted might not be such a bad idea. Please note, in the accompanying photo, I do not mean to imply that Stoli is the deputy administrator's preferred poison.