Pcol writes: "Aviation Week reports that astronauts were allowed to fly on at least two occasions after flight surgeons and other astronauts warned they were so intoxicated that they posed a flight-safety risk. A review panel, convened in the wake of the Lisa Nowak arrest to review astronaut medical and psychological screening, also reported "heavy use of alcohol" by astronauts before launch, within the standard 12-hour "bottle to throttle" rule applied to NASA flight crew members. Dr. Jonathan Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon, says it's a tradition for crew members to gather for a barbecue on the eve of a shuttle launch, and these gatherings sometimes include alcohol and a toast but that the greater problem is that preparation before a flight can leave astronauts sleep-deprived and overworked. Meanwhile at Frenchie's Italian Restaurant, a popular astronaut hangout in Houston, owner Frankie Camera disputed the reports. "The Mercury astronauts may have been a little more wild (than later ones) but I did banquets for them and never really saw any of them drink so much they were out of control or drunk.""
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