NASA searches staff after cocaine found in space shuttle hangar
Some 200 NASA employees were tested for cocaine Wednesday after the agency found traces of the substance in a hangar where maintenance work is being carried out on the space shuttle Discovery, according to news reports out of Florida.
According to News Channel 13 in Orlando, a NASA employee found traces of cocaine in a plastic bag in a hangar at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The NASA employee found the baggie in an area where employees enter the building by way of electronic ID cards, reports Florida Today.
Some 200 contractors and NASA employees are authorized to work in the building, and “each worker was tested,” channel 13 reported. The report doesn’t specify what kind of “testing” was carried out.
NASA evidently has no idea as to who might be the cokehead in their midst. Reporter Greg Pallone writes:
[T]here is no indication any worker was under the influence while on duty.
“There was nothing obvious, nobody was obviously under the influence when they were working. Because we have supervisors there, security in there, it wasn’t obvious somebody was under the influence of this substance or any other for that matter. But to confirm the hardware and equipment on Discovery is OK so it can fly in March is what we’re doing now,” said Allard Beutel, of KSC Public Affairs.
NASA said steps are being taken to check all spaceflight hardware to make sure the substance did not create any problems with the shuttle systems.
In 1990, NASA employees found a container of white powder in a space shuttle hangar. An investigation determined that the substance was not coke, but “may have been a counterfeit version of the drug.”