Astronauts were drunk before liftoff: report
NASA astronauts were twice allowed to fly even though they were intoxicated, a U.S. magazine reported Thursday.
Aviation Week & Space Technology said a panel investigating the mental state of astronauts found that on at least two occasions they were allowed to fly while intoxicated, even though doctors and other astronauts reported the unidentified astronauts posed a flight-safety risk.
NASAwould not comment on the magazine story,butwill release the panel's reporton Friday.
The panel reported that astronauts drank heavilybefore launch, even though flight crew members are not supposed to drink within12 hours of launch.
The panel is headed by U.S. Air Force Col. Richard Bachmann and includes military and civilian government experts.
NASA administrator Michael Griffin set it up to review astronaut medical and psychological screening after astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested in February. NASA later fired her.
Nowakwas accused of plotting to kidnap Colleen Shipman, who Nowak believed had replaced her as the girlfriend of shuttle pilot William Oefelein. Nowak flew on the space shuttle Discovery in July 2006 during its trip to the International Space Station.
Griffin also ordered the panel to "determine whether there were any areas of concern — any leading indicators we might have picked up on, based on Lisa Nowak's dealings with other astronauts or NASA employees," deputy administrator Shana Dale said.