NASA Seeking Answers and Doing Drug Tests After Cocaine Discovery
After a small amount of cocaine was found in a space shuttle hangar at NASA’s Florida Spaceport the organization began an investigation. The drug was found as residue in an abandoned plastic bag at the Orbiter Processing Facility a restricted zone for shuttle workers only at Discovery’s hangar at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A shuttle worker found it outside a bathroom and immediately reported the finding to security after which an on-site test found it to be cocaine. A follow-up test confirmed the finding.
“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,” Bob Cabana, a former astronaut and director of Kennedy Space Center, said in a statement. “We are conducting an investigation and working with center security and law enforcement officials to get to the bottom of it.”
The maintenance hangar is a restricted zone which requires special access badges for any workers to enter. Roughly 200 NASA employees and contractors have access to the area, and all have been asked to complete drug tests since Wednesday. Thus far there haven’t been any indications of workers being inebriated while at work. The consequences of such actions are severe, according to NASA officials.
“NASA, as well as all of our contractors, has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drug use,” Beutel said. “This is being taken very seriously.”
The cocaine find is being investigated on two fronts. One is through the drug itself and the other is looking for clues as to how it ended up in the shuttle hangar. Security in these areas is taken very seriously because it raises issues of safety working on the spacecraft, as well as to ensure the safety and quality of work on the space vehicles. Officials said that extensive efforts are being made to ensure Discovery remains safe to fly its next spaceflight. Its slated to take off from the Kennedy Space Center in March when it will be doing a mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Endeavour is due to launch on Feb. 7. NASA plans to fly five final shuttle missions this year before retiring its three-orbiter fleet.cocain, Drug Testing, drugs, NASA, Substance Abuse