Cosmonauts Prefer Cognac

An article in MosNews.COM tells us a ban on alcohol aboard the International Space Station (ISS) could be lifted in 2006 to allow crews nips of liquor after grueling work assignments, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday.

“They fly in orbit for half a year and perform a heavy workload, especially during exhausting space walks when they shed several kilos in weight over a few hours,” said a source in the Russian medical support teams for the manned space program. “Many people think a small ration of alcohol would help restore their strength.”

Moderate alcohol consumption was tolerated on Russia’s Mir space station until it was decommissioned in 2001, Independent Online website reported. But a strict ban has been in place on the ISS since Russia and the United States sent the first joint crew five years ago.

A tentative step was taken before New Year to loosen the measure when gifts sent on a cargo ship to cosmonaut Valery Tokarev and astronaut William MacArthur were thought to include chocolate liqueurs, the source said.

However, while Russian space controllers may favor allowing modest rations of cognac, the preferred drink of orbiting cosmonauts, the US space agency Nasa has previously insisted that missions must be teetotal.