NASA Denies Reports of Drunken Astronauts

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A NASA safety review has found no evidence to support claims that astronauts were impaired by alcohol when they flew in space, the agency said on Wednesday. Bryan O'Connor, NASA chief of safety and mission assurance, conducted the monthlong review to evaluate allegations in an Astronaut Health Care System Review Committee report that was released in late July. That report stated that in at least two instances astronauts had been so intoxicated prior to flight that flight surgeons and/or fellow astronauts raised concerns regarding flight safety, but the astronauts were still permitted to fly. O'Connor said he was unable to verify any case in which an astronaut was impaired on launch day, or any case where a manager disregarded the recommendation of a flight surgeon or crewmember that an astronaut should not fly the Shuttle.

"Should such a situation present itself in the future, I am confident that there are reasonable safeguards in place to prevent an impaired crewmember from boarding a spacecraft," O'Connor wrote.