Editor's note: the following was provided by NASA Public Affairs:
"It was with much regret that I read some of the reporting following the recent release of the Astronaut Health Committee report. †To imply that my crew or I would ever consider launching on our mission in anything but the best possible condition is utterly ridiculous. We have trained our entire lives to get to this point in our astronaut careers and clearly understand the complexity and the risks involved. It is beyond my comprehension that anyone in the astronaut office would consider doing what is suggested in this report and exaggerated in the press - showing up on launch day under the influence of alcohol. This is serious business and we take it as such.
My understanding and that of the rest of my crew with regard to NASAís policy on alcohol and flying aircraft, or spacecraft, was no different before this panelís report was released than it is now. It simply does not happen.
The immediate reporting of allegations of improper alcohol use as fact, allegations that were a very small part of the committee's report, was incorrect. NASA is investigating those allegations as it should, and the report does contain suggestions that may do much to improve the health care of astronauts. To see a minor part of the report exaggerated and misrepresented was extremely disappointing. Our own children see those articles, as do many, many children that find inspiration in the space program. We fully understand our responsibility to this country, to the taxpayers, as role models and to the cause of exploration, and we never take those matters lightly.
And finally, our leadership would never overlook or disregard the types of claims and concerns for safety as is suggested in this report. NASAís number one priority is to fly in space as safe as we possibly can. Period!