Friday, July 27, 2007

Houston, We Have a Problem

What's up at NASA? The one-time showcase of American technology has had a bad year. Despite the aging shuttle fleet flying again after the Columbia disaster, we have one thing after another at the space agency.

Earlier this year, Astronaut Lisa Nowak was dismissed after criminal charges were filed against her for driving from Houston to Florida to threaten a romantic rival for another astronaut's affections. Then a contractor kills his boss at the Johnson Space Center. Yesterday, another contrator was found to have sabotaged computers slated for delivery to the International Space Station. Then at the end of the day, NASA admits that it has been sending drunk astronauts into space.

Now while a bit of alcohol may ease pre-flight jitters, you'd think that astronauts need total lucidity to fly the shuttle. I halfway expect the next revelation to be that the astronauts on the ISS are growing marijuana.

I suppose the astronauts are only taking seriously the words of Elton John's hit song, Rocket Man, seriously:

"I packed my bags last night, preflight,
Zero hour, 9 am.
And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then."

Our space corps has certainly fallen from grace since the days of Alan Sheppard, Gus Grissom, and John Glenn.

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