Alcohol

NASA's Rocket Men Really Were High as a Kite…

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The latest triumph of NASA, the preferred federal workfare posting for diaper-wearing, would-be kidnapper pilots everywhere:

Despite safety warnings from NASA doctors, astronauts were allowed to fly after drinking heavily, an independent panel said in a report released Friday.

The report said it happened twice but gave no names and did not say when the drinking occurred, how many astronauts were involved, or whether they were flying on the space shuttle, the Russian Soyuz spaceship, or aboard NASA's training jets.

NASA officials let them fly even after flight surgeons and fellow astronauts raised concerns that safety might be jeopardized, according to the report, done by a panel created by NASA after the arrest of astronaut Lisa Nowak in February on charges she tried to kidnap her rival in a love triangle.

More on boozy astronauts here.

Elton John's "Rocket Man" lyrics–including the great line "And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then"–here.

William Shatner's dramatic reading of "Rocket Man"–including the super-fantastic line "And I'm gonna be…hiiiiigh…as a kite by then":

Double Bonus Friday: Chris Elliott's dramatic reading of William Shatner's dramatic reading of "Rocket Man":

Update: As requested, Family Guy's Stewie burns his fuse out there, alone:

Even More Update: Katherine Mangu-Ward's original blog post from yesterday on NASA's gastronauts here. And on the future of space tourism (wet and dry) here.

NEXT: Potatoes, Football, and Miscegenation

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  1. I think being drunk on the Soyuz capsule is required as one of the preflight checks.

  2. Let’s make it a trifecta…can anyone provide a link to Stewie’s rendition of Rocketman on an episode of Family Guy?

  3. Nick has uncovered even more proof that government just doesn’t work. The guy simply does not rest.

  4. I can’t believe these pilots would be drunk before rocketing into space. Isn’t it obvious that it would be way cooler to be high for that?

  5. I seriously need to buy the Get A Life! dvd.

  6. I can’t believe these pilots would be drunk before rocketing into space. Isn’t it obvious that it would be way cooler to be high for that?

    Drug testing…same reason airline pilots drink.

  7. Let’s make it a trifecta…can anyone provide a link to Stewie’s rendition of Rocketman on an episode of Family Guy?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh65oO5ym0E

  8. In non-governmental spacecraft related news, an explosion at Burt Rutan’s Scaled Composites testing facility kills 3. Scaled Composites is the company who built SpaceShipOne, the winner of the Ansari X Prize.

  9. I think the real question is “what the hell is Shatner on?”

    The Transformed Man, however, is genius. Evil genius.

  10. Nick is starting to post like a Urkobolder. Gotta love the Shat–he just keeps on giving, year after year. The funny thing is, he was always in on the joke. Is that a Canadian thing?

    Kwix,

    Heard about that earlier today. Terrible. I believe the accident occurred during some test connected to the SpaceShipTwo development.

  11. Chris Elliot wins.

  12. I’m watching you, Dave. Making your life a living hell.

  13. Is the superimposition of Shatners illustrating some kind of relative effect caused by faster-than-light rocket travel?

  14. By the way, “a superimposition of Shatners” would be a great way to refer to him in the plural.

  15. He’s moving faster than Shat.

  16. Way OT….

    Have I entered some alternative Bizarro universe? Ron Paul was on All Things Considered Wednesday evening and not one mention yet at Reason!?

  17. William Shatner claims it was supposed to be a Frank Sinatra impression. Or a pun on “rock it, man.” Or something.

  18. William Shatner on Boston Legal rocks my socks!

  19. Someday in the distant future, people will watch the Shatner clip and plumb it for meaning, like a dusty manuscript. A whole religion built thereupon.

  20. How much shat could a Shatner shat if a Shatner could shat shit?

    Anyway, the guy is amazing.

  21. The brilliance of Shatner is that he can’t be parodied. As much as I love his rendition of “Rocket Man”, I think the true Shatner masterpiece is his interpretation of “Taxi”. This is Shatner as an artist at the absolute top of his game. Far more nuanced and poignant than the emotionless, overproduced Harry Chapin original, it moves me every time I listen to it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBWOmHUvKBw

  22. Oh yeah! That’s the good stuff!

  23. Shatnered, Shatnered.
    Barbary Coast and Trek and dreams,
    Are still surviving on TV.
    Look my shirt, it’s in tatters!
    I’m the Shatner!
    Shatnered.

    And so on.

  24. Well, to paraphrase Chuck Yeager, you try sitting on top of a missle, whose every working part was provided by the lowest possible bidder…

    …filled with liquid whatever that could blow you to kingdom come at any moment…

    …sober…

  25. I might be going out on a limb here, but if I were being blasted into space at mach ten i think i would need to be loaded. Ya know. Cause ive seen a few blow up. Plus, sexy love triangles in space just arent as much fun sober.

    Posted from my iphone bitches!!

  26. Well, to paraphrase Chuck Yeager, you try sitting on top of a missle, whose every working part was provided by the lowest possible bidder…

    …with a catastrophic failure rate on the order of 1%. Besides, the computer does all the flying. The people are just part of the cargo.

  27. National
    Alcoholic
    Spirits
    Administration

  28. Astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested last February on charges she tried to kidnap her rival in a love triangle.
    NASA responds by creating a panel.
    Six months later the panel issues a report: Flying While Intoxicated.

    And we wonder why we still don’t have a space program?

  29. Has anyone else here read Orbital Decay and Lunar Descent by Allen Steele? I’m glad this happened on a government program rather than in the private space industry as it was in the stories, because private industry doesn’t deserve that kind of black eye.

    I’d be very concerned about this if the drunk person(s) was at the flight controls of a vehicle while under the influence. But if it’s a payload specialist who can’t even begin his/her work until 4-6 hours after takeoff (and was sober by then), I hope they can cut him/her some slack.

    Certainly the secrecy surrounding this (and other alleged misconduct by astronauts) is more disturbing than the misconduct itself.

    And I wonder if anyone has researched just how differently alcohol may work on people in zero gee? Sooner or later we’ll know; and it would be a shame to have to find out the hard way.

  30. I doubt any of them were drunk at liftoff. As far as I can tell, they only violated the no drinking 12 hours before flight rule. If you had 3 beers 6 hours before flight your not drunk, although you’re breaking the rules.

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