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Cops Demand to Know If This Is Really Black Astronaut’s Rocketship

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Police detained NASA astronaut Charles Washington today as he boarded the Orion V spacecraft during launch preparations, demanding to know if the $2 billion dollar manned flight was “really his rocketship,” multiple witnesses filming on their phones confirmed.

“We received a report of a suspicious individual wearing baggy work clothes attempting to enter a vehicle on Merritt Island,” said Kirsten Mendelson, the officer who detained the pioneering naval pilot, engineer, and Medal of Honor recipient. “Mr. Washington was unable to produce a valid driver’s license for the rocketship, and two other individuals in the vehicle appeared highly agitated, so we proceeded to search the vehicle. During our search, we found several bags of a powdered substance the subject referred to as ‘Tang,’ which we suspect is a street name for some type of methamphetamine.”

Body cam footage showed Mendelson and her partner casually tossing a confocal space microscope on the ground by Washington’s feet and asking him if he was “doing a little backyard party chemistry in there.”

Washington claimed he’d been hassled by local cops before, but never while wearing his orange launch-and-entry suit and surrounded by hundreds of uniformed NASA personnel.

“When I heard sirens and saw a Crown Victoria blast through our safety fence, I thought there was some kind of security threat to the launch. And in fact, there was: the local police,” said Washington. “One of the officers drew her weapon and started running across the gangplank, telling me to put my hands up. I saw them put our microfluidic chips in the back of their squad car and mutter something about ‘civil asset forfeiture’ — I guess they plan to use these valuable research tools as breakroom coasters. They do look pretty cool, so I guess our research on reversing human aging will have to wait.”

Mission commander Marco Berovski said nothing like this had ever happened on one of his launches.

“I can’t believe this could happen in our country. Maybe it’s a Florida thing,” said Berovski from Mission Control in Houston, a city where black drivers are three times more likely to be searched than white drivers. “I don’t see why they would target Charles — he’s a decorated military veteran with an impressive academic pedigree, and he’s really articulate. Anyway, the mission was delayed by a week at an officer-involved taxpayer cost of $2 million dollars.”

At press time, Ofc. Mendelson was seen using a Celestron telescope taken from Orion V to surveil local Black Lives Matters protesters.