back to article NASA finds cocaine in Space Shuttle hangar

NASA is trying to sniff out which employee brought a baggy of cocaine into the hangar that houses Space Shuttle Discovery at Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week. The space agency is preparing the shuttle for a launch to the International Space Station in March. Spaceport officials said an employee found the bag Thursday …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    everything that is great in the world.. thanks to drugs

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      Damn' straight, man...

      ...everything -- Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, Jack Kerouac, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Max, Pink Floyd, you name it.

    2. Allan George Dyer


      the Hoover Dam? continental drift? Ayres Rock? disk storage capacities? ...

      Shall I continue?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Beets in space?

    "The space agency is preparing the shuttle for a launch to the International Space Station in March"

    The market town in Cambridgeshire? Wow, how much party powder are these guys doing?

    Mine's the one with the hastily sewn-in lining.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I once tried to buy a ticket to March..

      ... from Cambridge railway station. And the old boy behind the ticket window, who had one of the broadest norfolk fen accents I've heard, couldn't quite hear past the difference in our accents:

      Me: "I want a ticket to March, please"

      Him: "Norwich?"

      Me: "No, March!"

      Him: "Yes, Norwich!"

      Me: "March! March!"

      Him: "Norwich!"

      [ went on for a couple more exchanges until i said "like the month". you gotta imagine it in his accent: sounds like a long drawn-out "Naaaarrrch?" ]

  3. Alexander Hanff 1

    they were just trying to help

    Carbon counting and all that jazz, they were just trying to help the shuttle get high without burning so much fuel...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    so now they use the shuttle to distrbute

    Think of it. That thing circles earth un just under three hours. blast it off with a 'payload' and jettison the correct amount as you fly over.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Uhh, not quite...

      ...try one orbit every hour and a half, roughly, at a speed of 17,500mph. I don't know how far ahead they'd have to release their... uhh, payload in order for it to re-enter at the proper point for it to make it inside the "landing ellipse". I guess that'd depend on how many kilos are being ordered.

      1. lasersage

        gravity and payloads

        why would it matter how many kilos? More stuff, same gravity, larger area, bit more drag. Can't see it making a difference

      2. ravenviz Silver badge

        Did someone mention speed?

        I suppose distribution from the shuttle would redefine the meaning of Angel Dust!

    2. Big-nosed Pengie
      Thumb Up


      It'd help them pay for it.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    12 hour shifts anyone?

    Someone pulling a double and needing a pick me up perhaps?

  6. Trev 2

    They not got CCTV?

    Seems like the kindof place you'd want lots and lots of CCTV cameras to ensure no one is doing anything dodgy like nicking bits of the shuttle and replacing them with chewing gum? Also random drug tests would seem like quite a good idea.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Chewing gum?

      Uh, sorry, but that stuff between the tiles is _not_ chewing gum. That's what's called your "gap filler"

      1. hoboroadie

        Chimney Robot

        I suppose some sort of "gap filler" could be engineered for chimney repair, and applied by a flue-crawler. I've watched the feed from a sewer-bot, when they were working from a friends back yard. very interesting. I think some repair situations might justify it.

    2. Mike Flugennock
      Paris Hilton


      No doubt the processing hangar and the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) are bristling with CCTV, but, still -- have any of you guys actually _seen_ the inside of the processing hangar or the VAB? Both those buildings are frickin' _huge_ -- especially the VAB (originally built for stacking the old Saturn V), and anyone who's worked there for any length of time probably knows where all sorts of nooks and crannies are where they can duck out of sight for a quick toot.

      Paris, because I'm sure her nose knows.

  7. Steve X

    "extra work on the nose cone"

    Cabernet all over the keyboard time.... excellent!

  8. Dick Emery

    Getting high into the stratosphere.

    For all the wrong reasons.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    call me a naysayer....


    Imagine if a company wanted to introduce random drug testing.... wouldn’t finding a baggie with traces of Bolivian marching powder in it, in a restricted area give them all the leverage they need to force testing on them?

    Who would complain about it?

    And why?

    mines the one with nothing to be found in the pocket....

  10. jake Silver badge


    The late 70s/early 80s just called ... they want their drugs back.

    I mean, seriously ... You're cleared to work on/around the Shuttle? Why the hell would you put such a cushy job in jeopardy? Something smells funny ... I'll bet a nickle it came in on somebody's shoe, or maybe someone was wearing a friend's jacket.

    I'm not being "reverent" here just because it's the Shuttle ... I worked for the WeAssembleSatellites division of $BigCo for a while. I have never worked with a more level-headed, sane, educated group of people, nor do I ever expect to again.

    Still, never underestimate the power of human stupidity ... ::sighs::

  11. Mike Flugennock

    Are they absolutely sure about that...?

    I mean, those strap-on boosters alongside the main tank _are_ solid-fueled, y'know.

  12. b166er

    So Jake

    using cocaine makes you less than level-headed, sane or educated?

    Maybe it does you, but I think you'll find that most of South America have been enjoying it for a very long time all the while functioning as ordinary human beings.

    Perhaps you've never tried it and are speaking out of ignorance, or perhaps you have a particular problem with alkaloids; whichever, it may serve you well to remember that we're not all the same.

    AC@21:10 The Heathrow T5 project did exactly that and several of my co-workers were ejected from the site for testing positvely. However, I would say that the alcoholics were far more of a danger than any of the workers that were dismissed for drug use. Still the project was a resounding success safety-wise. Statistically, we were informed, the job would kill 6 people. Sadly, while every effort was made, there was one fatality. It had nothing to do with drug/alcohol use.

    I imagine cocaine use in space would be very dangerous, there can't be enough oxygen for the amount of talking that would be required!

    1. Captain TickTock

      Bolian Marching Powder..

      "...I think you'll find that most of South America have been enjoying it for a very long time all the while functioning as ordinary human beings."

      Looking desperately for the hint of irony, haven't seen it yet.

      Snnnnnnnnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiiiffffff -Aaahhh - there it is.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      "level-headed, sane or educated"? Not some of the tossers *I've* met in clubs.

      >"Maybe it does you, but I think you'll find that most of South America have been enjoying it for a very long time all the while functioning as ordinary human beings."

      I think you'll find there's a big difference between having a nice mild cup of coca-leaf tea, and cramming your nose full of the most highly-refined chemically pure form of the product known to mankind. The cup of tea doesn't turn people into narcissistic egotistical wankers, for a start.

      1. Mike Flugennock

        actually... I recall, in South America -- in the mountains in Peru, especially -- people prefer to chew the leaves much like tobacco. In the mountains, they tend to prefer it more for functionality than pleasure, enabling them to get more work done in less time. Iirc, it also helps get more oxygen into their blood at those altitudes, but I don't recall all the technical medical details.

        As far as narcissistic egotistical wankery being caused by cocaine, I'd say a lot of it has to do with how much of a NEW one is to begin with.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @AC 00:20 & @b166er

        Thanks, AC :-)

        I might add that the leaves are also used as a medicine to help relieve the effects of altitude sickness. "Just a pinch, between cheek & gum", with a little limestone. The wife reports it works wonders. Me, I don't have issues at altitude, so I couldn't tell you (we honeymooned at Machu Picchu).

        @b166er: I did my fair share of drugs in high school and my first couple years at Uni. Then I grew up after the Dean threatened to throw me out because my grades were slipping. It took me another half dozen years to quit tobacco, and I'm nearly done with caffeine.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        "Highly-refinded and chemically pure"

        You really MUST introduce me to your dealer!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "the most highly-refined chemically pure form of the product known to mankind."

        That's probably the last thing it is when at the small folded packet stage.

    3. Annihilator

      Boring or annoying

      The average coke user I'd ended up talking to in a bar either ends up incredibly boring or annoying - or both. Can you just imagine what a NASA boffin turns into??

      I may not even stop to pick up my coat should the chance to escape the conversation arise...

    4. Mike Flugennock

      high in space

      b166er writes: "I imagine cocaine use in space would be very dangerous, there can't be enough oxygen for the amount of talking that would be required!"

      I also imagine you'd get a little batso after running out of things to do in such a confined space if you were doing cocaine. Also wouldn't be good for tasks requiring many important deliberate steps, such as preparing for and executing EVA. Get coked, get in a hurry, miss a step on the EVA checklist, and you're fucked.

      If I were able to get high in space at all, I think I'd prefer weed; makes you mellow, slows you down a bit, makes you more focused and contemplative. If I were doing a six-month hitch aboard ISS, I'd definitely want the option of being able to blaze one up on my off days, when I've got nothing on my plate except a couple of hours on the treadmill and a bit of earth-observation photography. (Iirc, aren't the Russian crews allowed a small vodka ration, for things like New Year's Eve toasts and such?)

      1. ravenviz Silver badge

        C'mon guys

        We're all human but also we're responsible for billions of dollars worth of technology, astronauts go through rigorous training and know the risks. Astronauts know not to risk their jobs for something stupid, the greatest worry for any astronaut ahead of a launch is them not being on it for whatever reason. If someone said to me, don't drink or do drugs and you can go on the ISS for a week, I think I'd be able to manage that!

  13. Anonymous John


    Bolivian spacemarching powder?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Bolivian spacefloating powder!

  14. Misfituser


    ...I didn't realize George W. Bush still had access to the space shuttle.

  15. Mike Flugennock

    Trouble ahead, trouble behind

    This ol' Shuttle makes it on time,

    clearin' the tower at a quarter to nine!


    Sorry, couldn't resist. But, aaaa-aaanyway...

    They say they're going to test everyone around the place to find out who the snorters were; problem is -- as I recall, coke metabolizes out fairly quickly, and as they don't know when the snorting actually went on, it seems the odds of catching the snorters with a piss test are fairly low, although the weed smokers there might find themselves in trouble.

    In fact, I'll bet the only ones who are canned as a result of this are some poor schmucks who tested positive for a joint they smoked on a Saturday night two weeks ago and who weren't even remotely impaired at work on the day the coke-snorting went on.


    Trouble ahead, trouble behind,

    and you know that notion just crossed my mind...

  16. Bill Neal


    The spacing guild cannot function without the floridian spacing powder!

  17. Busted


    After all these years and this post has finally jogged my memory and reminded me of the name from a song much loved.

    Nice one off to youtube I go :)

    P.s. Coke is over rated Ebeenezer is the geezer you need to seek!

    1. Rattus Rattus
      Thumb Up

      A gentleman of leisure, he's there for your pleasure

      But go easy on old Eezer, he's the love you could lose.

      Although personally, I'd rather make Lucy's acquaintance.

  18. Apocalypse Later

    Can you imagine....

    ...the price this stuff would fetch on Mars?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Only NASA bod I've been briefed by

    Did so with a regularly re-filled glass of red wine in hand. It's a matter of proportion.

    Anon for obvious reasons.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Ground control to major Tom,

    Can you hear me major Tom?

  21. jonathan keith
    Paris Hilton

    It's just my job, five day a week.

    I'm a Rocket, Man!

    Insert link to Shatner youtube clip here.

  22. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    "And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then"

    I'm a Rocket Man!

  23. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    I for one...

    welcome ore coke sniffing alien overlords...

    Maybe the CBP needs to extend it operations

    Welcome to the United States of Gattaca

  24. Michael 82

    RE: The spice must flow!

    Reminds me of another tune I know lol

    Now thats how they actually get to space!

  25. Simon Millard

    It's a

    Cheaper way of getting into orbit!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Alertness aid?

    Cocaine is a non-toxic therapeutic aid for fatigue, and pain. At recreational doses it seems to impair cognitive function, in my limited observation; (I am not a Doctor). Powdered Caffeine has been shown to aid cognition, AFAIK. But that's not the case here, is it?

  27. JC 2

    @ Alertness aid

    At recreational dosage in an otherwise alert person, it impairs cognitive function a bit. At same dosage in a fatigued person it may keep them at higher productivity levels (depending on what they're doing).

    Take a brilliant person and work them till they can barely keep their eyes open and you'll see what I mean.

    Caffeine can have the same effect, but does not provide the isolation from bodily aches that cocaine does, so a "revived" worker may be a bit distracted. It does have that one little thing going for it though, not being illegal. OK, low cost is the second, lower addiction rate (arguable depending on what you call addiction) the third, not funding low life thugs in the industry the forth, having it more likely be exactly what you thought you were consuming the fifth, etc.

    Our friend jake is not the rule, some people can recreationally take drugs and some can't. Same with drinking, sex, all those things an addict-type personality can have problems with. More often at a young age it's simply that reality hasn't set in yet, those who have a safety net tend to not associate each new day with a requirement to get up, get out there, and perform - drugs, if taken, are only taken when the next day is a day off and it applies to alcohol for most of us who aren't into the illegal drug or the tweaker/speed scene.

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