Alcohol

NASA vs. MADD

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astronaut

Houston doesn't seem to have a problem with drinking and driving. At least, not if you're driving a space shuttle that costs 600 million taxpayer dollars per launch. After all, who wouldn't need a little liquid courage for something like that?:

Aviation Week & Space Technology says it has obtained a draft report that says NASA allowed astronauts to fly while intoxicated on two occasions.

The respected trade publication, which doesn't identify its sources, says members of a government panel found evidence to suggest "heavy use of alcohol" by astronauts during the 12-hour period before launches. Astronauts aren't supposed to consume alcohol during that period.

Will MADD start targeting NASA, in the acronym death match for the ages? Joking aside, this does undermine the message that a drink or two turns everyone, in virtually any circumstances, into a befuddled and dangerous operator of heavy machinery. Check out the full NASA report here at noon tomorrow.

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  1. Would it be in bad taste to suggest that the Columbia burned up when somebody rolled down the window to moon most of the southwest? Hmm, ok, I won’t go there.

  2. Also, is this the long awaited battle between astronauts and cavemen, with the cave men being simulated by a bunch of self-righteous teetotaler scolds waving rolling pins instead of bone clubs?

  3. I’m pretty sure you ride the shuttle into orbit you don’t drive it.

  4. The astronauts really aren’t “operating” ths shutle during a launch. They complete items on a very detailed checklist and monitor systems, but the actual operation of the vehicle is left to the onboard general purpose computers. While their monitoring of systems is important, there are enough layers of oversight during the countdown that it’s very likely that any errors made would be caught quickly by the ground crew.

    That, and most things that are happening during a launch are too fast and too subtle for a human at te stick to make any meaningful contribution in the event of an emergency during launch.

  5. mmmm. wind fried taint.

    mmmmmm.

  6. So they really did say, “No, Bud Light”?

  7. SPace is boring. And you can’t smoke. There, I said it.

  8. GALACTIC PATROL REPORT, August 23, 2067

    Space Cadet Jones observed Astronaut Kinnison’s speedster orbiting eratically. He overtook Astronaut Kinnison and instructed him to turn off his Bergenholm. Astronaut Kinnison complied. Space Cadet Jones then approached the airlock of Astronaut Kinnison’s speedster and instructed him to exit the speedster.

    Astronaut Kinnison came out of the airlock, but had unfortunately forgotten to close the faceplate of his helmet. Astronaut Kinnison expired from attempting to breathe vaccum before Space Cadet Jones was able to return him to his speedster and close the airlock.

    Post mortem analysis showed that Astronaut Kinnison had a blood alcohol lever of .14. He showed evidence of both bentlam and thionite in his bloodstream.

  9. SPace is boring. And you can’t smoke. There, I said it.

    You take that back!

    And you just have to add an oxidizing agent to the tobacco. Just be very careful not to do that tampy thing that smokers do where the smack the pack of cigs on their hand a few times before opening it.

  10. For an extensive example proving that getting drunk the night before operating heavy machine has no ill effects: The airline industry. The most booze-drenched, hookered-out crazy dudes I ever met.

  11. As long as there’s one sober guy aboard who’s the “designated astronaut,” it’s cool.

  12. I work at a Pub down the street from the Johnson Space Center outside of Houston. We’ve had to cut off at least one astronaut before. She threw a drunken fit and swore she’d never return. That lasted a couple months.

  13. I knew space was still cool. You know the Russians probably have us beat hands-down in this department. How the heck do we think we’re going to get sane, red-blooded Americans all the way to Mars and back without packing them a bunch of booze? Look at Alaskans, they’re the drinkinest people in the U.S. and they’re probably the best model for Astronauts that we have.
    If we give up on this, we might as well let the Islamo-facists win.

  14. I work at a Pub down the street from the Johnson Space Center outside of Houston. We’ve had to cut off at least one astronaut before. She threw a drunken fit and swore she’d never return. That lasted a couple months.

    Did she slip on a pair of adult diapers and yell, “Now I’m gonna get that skank bitch who stole my boyfriend!” before running out to her car and driving to Orlando?

  15. When a monkeys and a dogs manage to “pilot” a spacecraft without any problems (well, not counting the problem of returning alive, that is) I doubt a drunken human is really much cause for concern.

  16. Also, is this the long awaited battle between astronauts and cavemen, with the cave men being simulated by a bunch of self-righteous teetotaler scolds waving rolling pins instead of bone clubs?
    Hey, I just watched the last season on Angel too!

  17. For an extensive example proving that getting drunk the night before operating heavy machine has no ill effects: The airline industry. The most booze-drenched, hookered-out crazy dudes I ever met.

    Heh. Well, with such sophisticated avionics a monkey or a dog could probably fly a modern commercial airplane as well. And with nothing really to do but sit there, no wonder they drink; I can’t make it through a 10-hour international flight without a little booze either.

  18. If the drunken astronauts were pilot or Commander, I’d care. Those two actually have stuff to do on launch and the first day of orbit.

    If it’s anyone else — valium would work better. Given the numerous ways a rocket launch can go wrong, and the fact that they’re basically sitting on a million pounds of explosives and fuel with no “off” button once it starts (once SRB’s ignite, there is no stopping it), I might have to drink a bit of courage too. 🙂

  19. This explains Armstrongs missing “a” as he stepped off the Lunar lander on to the moon.

    “A small step for (hic) man, A giant leap for mankind.”

    I loved Bill Dana’s schtick playing Jose Jimenez as a NASA astronaut. Now I realize it should have been Foster Brooks, who plays an airline pilot here..

  20. SPace is boring. And you can’t smoke. There, I said it.

    Thank God we invented the…whatever…device.

  21. In Space, No One Can Hear You
    complain about the champagne bubbles not rising

  22. “0.150: A Space Odyssey”

    “Bar Wars”

    “Ale-ien”

    “Kahlua Encounters of the Third Pint”

    I got nothin’ else.

  23. I’d drink, too, if I were flying a spaceship built by the lowest bidder.

  24. The captain of the Exxon Vadez was impaired when the tanker ran aground and spilled 11 million gallons of oil. http://www.adn.com/evos/stories/EV84.html

  25. Gee, Dare. Didn’t know that.
    Wow, that actually happened?
    No.
    No. No. NO! NOOOOO!
    How old are you? 8?

  26. BTW, sevensecretwords, you suck, product-placement bitch.
    And your shit reeks of new-age crap, combined with baby-boomer guilt.
    Yeah, go to hell.

  27. Are we talking about something that happened last year or something that happened back in the “Right Stuff” days?

  28. SuperMike had it – there’s no way the American astronauts out drank their Russian counterparts.

  29. 80-proof Spam in a can.

  30. Joking aside, this does undermine the message that a drink or two turns everyone, in virtually any circumstances, into a befuddled and dangerous operator of heavy machinery.

    Would any non-crazy person really draw this conclusion from the story?

  31. Our astronauts do seem more like America now. . .crazy and drunk.

  32. Tang-queray.

  33. Ah, the “Apollo Soyuz” cocktail: a screwdriver with Tang instead of OJ.

    The British navy drove their nuclear submarines tanked on rum until they cancelled the rum ration in 1972. Up Spirits!

  34. Ha! You guys are funny. Good one Lamar.

    But this…”a bunch of self-righteous teetotaler scolds waving rolling pins instead of bone clubs?”

    Kind of snarky, wouldn’t you say? In my experience, MADD advocates are saavy, caring individuals who are committed to a philosophical paradigm that, while not totally realistic, has saved a few lives.

  35. neidermann

    Joking aside, this does undermine the message that a drink or two turns everyone, in virtually any circumstances, into a befuddled and dangerous operator of heavy machinery.

    Would any non-crazy person really draw this conclusion from the story?

    That was my first question.
    KMW is either very very dim or crazy to write such a sentence.

  36. In my experience, MADD advocates are saavy, caring individuals who are committed to a philosophical paradigm that, while not totally realistic, has saved a few lives.

    But are they hot?

  37. Unfortunately, Stevo…no. We can say that MADD has saved a few lives, but we should also be aware that they’ve ruined thousands of lives as well.

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