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Astronaut Denies He Failed Eye Test, NASA Chief Mum on Allegations

February 15, 1989

HOUSTON (AP) _ The head of the astronaut corps at the Johnson Space Center has denied a published report that he failed two eye tests for colorblindness, although he did not specifically deny that he is colorblind.

Daniel C. Brandenstein, who is scheduled to command a shuttle mission this year, made his comments Monday following a story in the Houston Chronicle that said he and astronaut Frederick C. Hauck received wavers for medical conditions that otherwise would have grounded them.

Hauck said the allegation that Brandenstein is colorblind is ″absurd.″

″Without going into detail, it’s not accurate,″ Brandenstein told the Houston Post in response to claims from an anonymous caller to the newspaper that the astronaut had failed two colorblindness tests.

″I have a long record of operational flying in the Navy with no problem,″ he added.

Although James C. Fletcher, NASA’s chief administrator, refused to comment on the medical records of Brandenstein and Hauck, he issued a statement saying he is confident that NASA flight rules are not being violated.

″I am confident that the system has not been abrogated and that no one flies without qualifying by the book,″ Fletcher said.

Like other NASA officials, Fletcher would not discuss any individual medical records on the grounds that such records are legally a private matter.

Sources at the Johnson Space Center said Hauck underwent special medical treatment last year to dissolve a kidney stone, and Brandenstein received a waiver earlier keeping him on flight status despite colorblindness, the Chronicle reported.

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