Report: Astronauts Typically Don't Fly Drunk
By: Chris Kramer
There have been many interesting DUI stories in the news, but a recent report acknowledges the potential for another worrisome type of DUI. Luckily, according to many reliable sources, DUIs of this sort have never actually occurred.
A survey released by NASA this week shows that no American astronaut has ever operated a spacecraft under the influence of alcohol or while hung over, according to the New York Times.
Last July, Cpt. Lisa Nowak, a NASA astronaut, was reportedly arrested in an airport parking lot during an incident involving a romantic rival of hers. In response to that incident, an independent group allegedly investigated the healthcare benefits offered to astronauts.
In their report, the group apparently announced that it had discovered incidents in which astronauts had been intoxicated just before the takeoff of specific missions. Naturally, NASA conducted a follow-up survey to double check those findings.
The initial survey asked astronauts and flight surgeons questions regarding drunkenness before and during missions, but revealed no evidence of drinking and flying, according to sources.
Reports indicate that NASA conducted a second survey earlier this year, similar to the original in question type, but with the added protection of anonymity to respondents.
Reuters reports that 87 of 98 current astronauts and all 31 current flight surgeons filled out the survey, and no one indicated that astronaut DUI was a problem.
The only noteworthy incident mentioned was one in which an astronaut's prescription drugs apparently interacted with alcohol in the days leading up to a mission. The astronaut in question was reportedly cleared for takeoff before the flight launched. Evidently, no evidence of blasting off under the influence came to light.
While the response gathered so far from NASA's space dwellers has allegedly shown overwhelmingly that drinking and operating spacecraft is not a problem, the organization has announced that it will continue its examination of healthcare for its employees.
According to sources, officials at NASA have chalked the drunken astronaut rumors up to urban legend. Their continued investigation into healthcare available to astronauts will reportedly focus on assuring that pilots feel no fear of ostracism or punishment if they report maladies that could impact their ability to enter space.