28
Aug
07

Astronauts: First drunk, now mentally unstable?

Given the frequency with which astronauts are being found to be in substandard mental condition lately, I am beginning to think we spend more money in the technology of space flight than we do in the well being of the astronauts in whom we entrust our billion dollar technological equipment:

Former astronaut Lisa Nowak is pursuing a temporary insanity defense on charges that she assaulted and tried to kidnap a romantic rival, according to a court document released Tuesday.

Nowak suffered from major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia and “brief psychotic disorder with marked stressors,” defense attorney Donald Lykkebak wrote. He said the already-petite woman had also recently lost 15 percent of her body weight and struggled with “marital separation.”

“This notice does not challenge competence to stand trial, but only raises insanity at the time of the offense,” he wrote. – [Yahoo/AP]

You know, I realize that astronauts are human beings, and have their ups and downs. I have no problem with them having a drink, or a mental breakdown, whatever. They’re human. Where I have a problem is that it seems like the people who administer our illustrious space program doesn’t seem to have the safety of the astronauts, or even the welfare of the equipment, at heart.

How can you let a person whose blood alcohol levels were so high they would not be allowed to operate a common motor vehicle, operate a multi billion dollar spacecraft? How do you let someone who is in the throes of a depression, and clearly mentally unstable, even remain an active member of the space program? I mean aren’t there periodical mental and physical evaluations done? How do these people pass?

Ex-astronaut planning insanity defense – [Yahoo/AP]

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