Cocaine Found in NASA Space Shuttle Hangar

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NASA is investigating how a small amount of cocaine ended up in a space shuttle hangar at the agency’s Florida spaceport.

A bag containing a small amount of white powder residue that was later confirmed to be cocaine was discovered in the Space Shuttle Discovery’s hangar at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The hangar, known in NASA parlance as an Orbiter Processing Facility, is a restricted zone for shuttle workers only.

“NASA, as well as all of our contractors, has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drug use,” NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said. “This is being taken very seriously.”

The cocaine was discovered Jan. 12 when a shuttle worker spotted it outside a bathroom and reported it to NASA security, Beutel said. An on-site test of the substance identified it as cocaine, and subsequent follow-up tests confirmed it was the drug, he said.

Discovery’s maintenance hangar is a restricted zone, requiring special access badges for any workers, Beutel said. About 200 NASA employees and contractors have access to the area, and drug tests for all of them have been under way since Jan. 13.

“There are no obvious indications of anyone acting oddly or under the influence,” Beutel said.

Discovery is slated to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in March to deliver supplies and spare parts to the international space station.