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Jul 27,2007
Report: Astronauts allowed to fly drunk
by UPI

WASHINGTON -- At least two U.S. astronauts have reportedly been allowed to blast off when they were so blasted that colleagues feared the risk of flying with them.

In another embarrassing revelation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced Thursday that a computer to be delivered to the International Space Station had been sabotaged.

A committee set up to investigate astronaut screening said astronauts routinely drink in the hours before launch, disregarding NASA's ban on drinking alcohol within 12 hours of liftoff, Aviation Week & Space Technology reported Thursday. The panel was created after the arrest of Lisa Nowak, an astronaut charged with stalking a woman involved with a fellow astronaut.

A NASA spokesman said a news conference may be held Friday to release the committee findings.

Flight surgeons found two astronauts intoxicated shortly before liftoff, but they were allowed to remain on the flight, the magazine said.

Bill Gerstenmaier, a NASA associate administrator, told The Miami Herald the computer sabotage was the work of a subcontractor employee. He said the damage is being repaired.

The computer is scheduled for delivery to the space station with the Endeavour space shuttle mission scheduled for August.

Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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