Being an astronaut is a serious job, however, sometimes they make room for some fun. “Fun” like drinking alcohol, is a strictly prohibited activity in space. But now and again, astronauts have tried to break this rule.
A few Russian cosmonauts have been known to “smuggle” bottles of cognac in their spacesuits. Smuggle because they could not carry the prohibited substance into space legally. They have admitted to using methods like mislabeling them as “juice bottles” or placing them inside hollowed-out books. One determined astronaut hid a small bottle in their wristband of device used for measuring blood pressure.
According to Daily Mail, their determination is so strong that some astronauts admitted to crash-dieting before launch so that the hidden alcohol bottles in their space-suit would not make them exceed the weight requirements.
The first visual proof of the alcohol in space is from the 1990s when a “cognac party” photographs surfaced from the Mir space station. Alexander Lazutkin was captured drinking aboard (along with other Russian crewmates) in the 1997 photograph.
As alcohol is primarily made of ethanol, it is strictly prohibited on the International Space Station (ISS) because of its volatile nature. But according to BBC, it can also cause issues with their water and bathroom processes by impacting the station’s water recovery system. Therefore, all products containing such alcohol are banned (including mouthwash, hand sanitizer and perfume).
But alcohol hasn’t always been prohibited in space. According to Lazutkin, alcoholic drinks were a part of astronaut’s ration during the early days of Space Age. He even claimed some doctors had suggested cognac as it would “stimulate the immune system.” However, after much deliberation, the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos banned the substance and astronauts became alcohol smugglers. According to Beyond Russia, dozens of illegally carried booze cases have been found by inspectors.
According to the author of Alcohol in Space, Chris Carberry, Roscosmos knows about this smuggling but chooses to turn a blind eye.
Valery Ryimin, a cosmonaut, says it’s necessary to legalize alcohol in space at least in small quantities. It can be used as a sedative or to help with sleep.
According to astronaut Clayton Anderson, NASA’s claim that there is no alcohol aboard the ISS is “complete bogus.”
Additionally, Buzz Aldrin revealed that he took wine to the moon to perform holy communion decades after he stepped on the moon. Apollo 8 members revealed they snuck in brandy in their Christmas kit in 1968 mission. However, they claimed it wasn’t consumed.
BBC reported that some crew members gagged by the smell of wine. NASA also didn’t want spacemen involved in intense activities to be buzzed. Hence, NASA banned the substance in space.