Cocaine Discovery Prompts NASA Safety Review
They are apparently using
more than space to get high at NASA.
NASA officials are reviewing the preparation work done for the March 18 launch of space shuttle Discovery after a small amount of cocaine was discovered in a restricted shuttle hangar. A Kennedy Space Center employee found the small bag of cocaine outside a bathroom of Processing Facility No. 3.
After security officials confirmed the contents of the small package was cocaine, NASA ordered the safety review in addition to ordering drug tests for the approximately 200 persons who have access to the facility. The employees are already subject to random drug testing.
"This is a rare and isolated incident, and I'm disappointed that it happened, but it should not detract from the outstanding work that is being done by a dedicated team on a daily basis," Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana said in a statement. "There is no reason whatsoever to believe this incident will have any impact on Discovery's upcoming launch."
Speaking before a group of Florida business and civic leaders meeting at the Kennedy Space Center Jan. 14, Cabana added, "We do not allow people who work on the orbiter to use illegal substances, and we're going to take care of this. We're talking about spaceflight hardware that takes a lot of skilled workers to work on. It's not acceptable."
Embarrassingly, the cocaine was discovered just one day after NASA officials held a Safety Countdown as part of a promotion highlighting the shuttle's final five missions. Endeavour is the first shuttle scheduled for launch in 2010 on Feb. 7. Discovery is scheduled for the second launch.
The report of the cocaine discovery comes three years after NASA battled rumors of alcohol in the shuttle crew's quarters. An official report claimed at least two astronauts had taken for space for under the influence.