Astronauts: July 2007 Archives

Message From the NASA Administrator - July 30, 2007: Astronaut Health Report

"At the same time, however, our policy has been to say very little publicly until we know more. If you saw the press conference, I am sure you realize that the report was assembled from anecdotal information, unverified by the committee and, indeed, not documented in a way that would allow us to pursue the cited incidents to closure. This does not mean that the claims made in the report are untrue, but it does necessitate a "go slow" approach on our part regarding any public statements we might make."

NASA confirms reports of intoxicated astronauts, Posted: Sat, Jul 28 9:49 AM ET (1349 GMT)

"NASA officials on Friday confirmed that on at least two occasions astronauts were intoxicated immediately prior to missions as the agency said it was taking steps to investigate and remedy the situation."

Editor's note: C'mon Jeff, this is really sloppy. No one from NASA "confirmed" the intoxication claims. Quite the contrary, NASA has refered to the claims in this external report as being "allegations" and "anecdotal" over and over again. Mike Griffin is rather clear on this in his message to NASA employees. Spaceflight Now as a much more accurate article - and title "NASA vows review of alleged astronaut alcohol abuse"

Editor's update: The title has been changed to read "NASA acknowledges reports of intoxicated astronauts".

Houston Wine Company Offers Wine Discount to NASA Astronauts, PR Web

"Our company realizes the great tension the astronauts are under and it is in this context that we hope our discount on our wines may encourage our astronauts to only drink the highest quality wine available," he said. "We produce our wines in California from the best select vineyards, but our home remains in Houston and thus we feel as 'neighbors' to NASA astronauts, it is up to us to help in whatever fashion we can."

No Drinking On Soyuz

Russian official denies report astronaut drunk on Soyuz space flight, AP

"We categorically deny the possibility that this could have happened at Baikonur," Igor Panarin, spokesman for the Russian Space Agency, Roskosmos, told the Associated Press. "In the days at Baikonur before the launch this is absolutely impossible. They are constantly watched by medics and psychiatrists."

Lazy Fact Finding

Transcript: NASA Press Conference Regarding Findings of Astronaut Health Reviews

"COL BACHMANN: Yes. Again, the details of the specific incident in question, we really didn't get firm assessment at the moment that the astronaut was prepared to fly. He was in the preflight period when either the flight surgeons or a fellow astronaut was concerned enough about the astronaut's condition, that that was raised to the local leadership. As far as the specifics of how much more time elapsed before they actually flew, we cannot say with any certainty whether they, in fact, were at all under the influence or affected at the time that they actually flew. The issue of concern was that the medical advisors or the people who should be empowered to raise questions felt like they were not, and it is that sense of disregard that the committee commends back to NASA to evaluate. We didn't get the information, and I can't share it because I don't have it as far as how much time elapsed, how high the blood alcohol was likely to have been. We just don't have it."

NASA Fact Sheet on the Findings of the Astronaut Health Care System Review Committee

"The Next Steps: Some of the findings in the report, including those related to "heavy use of alcohol by astronauts in the immediate preflight period," will require additional review by NASA. The committee did not provide NASA with specific details of the alleged incidents. As a result, NASA must independently determine the facts of the reported incidents."

NASA JSC Internal Assessment of Medical Practices after Nowak Incident

"STS-121 crew flight surgeons were queried and did not note any indications of concern from pre-flight to in-flight to post-flight. Similar queries were made of the STS-116 (Commander Oefelein's flight) crew flight surgeons, and again no indications of concern were noted. Her medical and behavioral health records were reviewed and there were again no indications of medical or psychological problems."

NASA Astronaut Health Care System Review Committee February - June, 2007 Report to the Administrator

"Preparation for exploration class space flight requires NASA to focus much more attention on human behavior. Astronauts must be selected, trained, evaluated, monitored, and supported in order to be effective as individuals, and more importantly, so they can be effective members of a team that will be isolated and under great mental and physical stress for a period of several years before their return to Earth. NASA's Astronaut Office and medical system should be structured to optimally execute that mission."

Opening Remarks on Astronaut Health Reports by NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale

"Mike Griffin and I will closely monitor progress on these issues. After the review is completed, it is our intention to share the findings with the public, to the maximum extent possible."

Editor's update: I ended up doing 2 Fox and 4 CNN interviews plus several for the BBC and a bunch of newspapers and radio stations. To see one of the CNN interviews (CNN Pipeleine) go here and look for "Astronauts flying Drunk". Play that.

Editor's update: You can watch the press conference online at NASA TV online here. NASA will likely post the reports here after 1 pm EDT. Meanwhile, I will be on (live) CNN International at 11:00 am EDT, Fox News at 12:20 pm EDT, and CNN Domestic from 1-2 pm EDT.

Editor's update: It would be premature, and as I am learning, incorrect to quickly jump to the conclusion that the incidents - allegations of incidents - being tossed around are necessarily Space Shuttle missions. Astronauts also fly on Soyuz spacecraft and "fly" T-38's regularly. Stay tuned.

Panel Finds Astronauts Flew While Intoxicated, Aviation Week

"A panel reviewing astronaut health issues in the wake of the Lisa Nowak arrest has found that on at least two occasions astronauts were allowed to fly after flight surgeons and other astronauts warned they were so intoxicated that they posed a flight-safety risk. The panel, also reported "heavy use of alcohol" by astronauts before launch, within the standard 12-hour "bottle to throttle" rule applied to NASA flight crew members."

NASA Releases Findings of Astronaut Health Reviews

"NASA will release the findings of two reviews regarding astronaut medical and behavioral health assessments during a news conference scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT, July 27. The news conference will take place in the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington, which is located at 300 E St., S.W."

Editor's note: I can't wait to see how Mike Griffin and NASA PAO try to spin this. If these allegations are true, it is simply outrageous (and somewhat improbable) that astronauts were allowed to fly in this condition - and that this information was withheld by ANYONE at NASA - for any reason whatsoever. What is even more incredible about these allegations is that despite these findings by flight surgeons these astronauts were still allowed to climb into the vehicle and fly. Stay tuned.

Of course, no one still working at NASA who may have been involved will ever be reprimanded for this if this turns out to be true - including the allegedly inebriated astronauts. Yet airline pilots and crew - and bus drivers who do this - get fired or reassigned instantly. Some go to jail.

Nowak Upate

Transcript shows former astronaut Nowak wanted to question rival (with PDF), Orlando Sentinel

"Former NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak wanted to know whether her love rival knew about her relationship with former astronaut Bill Oefelein and her "potential" for more. That's what she told Orlando police Detective William Becton after her arrest at Orlando International Airport on Feb. 5. The State Attorney's Office released the 72-page transcript of the interview Monday in response to a public-records request from the Orlando Sentinel."

Texas Monthly readers shun 'astronaut sex' issue, AP

"It seems that many Texas Monthly magazine readers were less than thrilled by a tale of astronaut romance. Texas Monthly editor Evan Smith, in a recent posting on the magazine's Web site, wrote of criticism from readers about the May issue featuring a cover story with the headline "Astronaut Sex!" The article was about a love triangle involving former astronaut Lisa Nowak."

[Jay] Buckey '08: "I love this country, and I believe in our future - but right now we are on the wrong track. The country I was born in could send people to the Moon. Today, like so many Americans, I'm deeply concerned that we can't respond adequately to a disaster in one of our own cities, and that we started a war without a clear understanding of what it would take to finish it."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Astronauts category from July 2007.

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