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This is an archive collection of entries from  my main personal blog, My Mundane Mid-Life.


This particular entry is from February 06, 2007.



Craziness in the astronaut corps

I woke-up, put on the Today show... and was shocked at the breaking story overnight that led the cast...

So bizarre... so... foreign... what causes someone to do something like this? Especially, a shuttle astronaut????

CNN Stories (Updated)
Astronaut to face attempted murder charge
Astronaut's star appeared to be on rise at NASA
Astronaut flies back to troubled Houston home
NASA wants to know if there are 'lessons to be learned'
No attempted murder charge for astronaut Nowak
NASA chief: We didn't recognize Nowak was troubled
Sexy e-mails shed light on astronaut's bizarre behavior
NASA fires astronaut Nowak

Orlando Sentinel Story - Astronaut charged with attempted murder

I heard that.. and immediately thought about some guy going nuts, 'cause after all... the astronaut corps is mainly men... but, no... not a guy... a woman... Navy Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak - a Mission Specialist on STS-121 (July 4-17, 2006)... you know, a flight that was a return-to-flight test mission and assembly flight to the International Space Station, responsible for operating the remote arm during scheduled EVAs. She's married, with three children

You know... somebody driven, intelligent, skilled... under significant scrutiny to make sure she is physically and mentally fit for spaceflight.

Oh, such a strange tale... more bizarre the more I hear of it...

OK... ALLEGEDLY... this is what is "known":

Nowak drove over 900 miles.. from Houston to Orlando International Airport.

Nowak wore a diaper during the 14-hour drive so that she wouldn't have to stop for bathroom breaks

Oh, yes... now, while that sure doesn't appear normal, let me remind you...
Astronauts wear what NASA calls maximum-absorbency garments to collect their waste during space travel.

Now, why would she drive to Orlando? She was going to... "meet"... NASA Engineer Colleen Shipman who was on a flight, coincidentally from Houston to Orlando, who arrived at 1am.

After waiting 2 hours for her luggage, she walked to her car:

As Shipman walked to her car she noticed a woman in a trench coat who appeared to be following her, the police report said. She quickly jumped into her car and heard "running footsteps" behind her, Shipman told police.

Nowak slapped the window of the car as Shipman locked it, the report said. Nowak then tried to open the car door, saying that her ride had not arrived.

Shipman told Nowak she send for help, but when Nowak said she couldn't hear her and started to cry, Shipman cracked her window, the report said. The 2-inch space in the window was all Nowak needed to send pepper spray into the car, police said.

Her eyes burning, Shipman drove to a tollbooth and reported the incident.


OK... now.. Why did Nowak do this?
The charges against Nowak stem from an alleged love triangle in which Nowak and Shipman were competing for the affections of astronaut Bill Oefelein, police said.

...Commander Bill Oefelein, the pilot of the last Shuttle Mission - STS-116 Discovery (December 9-22, 2006).

Charges? Attempted kidnapping, battery, and attempted vehicle burglary with battery... and destruction of evidence.

Yeah, destruction of evidence...

When an officer found Nowak at a bus stop, she was wearing a different coat, and the officer observed her putting items in a trash can, the police report said. The officer retrieved a wig and a BB gun from the trash can, the report said.

Police found in Nowak's bag a tan trench coat, a new steel mallet, a folding knife with a 4-inch blade, 3 to 4 feet of rubber tubing, large plastic garbage bags and about $600 in cash, the report said.

...police found diapers, six latex gloves, directions from Houston to Orlando International Airport, e-mails from Shipman to Oefelein, a letter indicating how much she loved Oefelein and directions to Shipman's home address in Florida, the report said.
Oops.. correction..
She also was initially charged with destruction of evidence, but the judge said he found no probable cause for the charge.

So... there's an alleged romantic triangle between these people... allegedly.
According to the report, she told police that her relationship with Oefelein was "more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship."

Strange... creepy...

UPDATE: Looks like she's also going to be charged with Attempted First Degree Murder...

Navy Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak had already paid her bail on three other charges when she learned that she would not be released because Orlando police were planning to add attempted murder to the list, said Allen Moore, a spokesman for the Orange County Corrections Department.

Nowak will remain in protective custody until her first appearance on the new charge, which will likely come Wednesday morning, Moore said. The additional charge is likely to be filed Tuesday afternoon, Moore added.

One legal analyst said police and prosecutors likely added the new charge because they were miffed the judge granted Nowak bail when they requested she be held without bond.

UPDATE:

A family statement said Nowak had recently separated from her husband of 19 years, who works at NASA Mission Control. They have a teenage son and young twin daughters.

The Associated Press reported that there had been signs of problems before Nowak's arrest. In November, police were called to Nowak's home near the Johnson Space Center after a neighbor reported hearing the sounds of dishes being thrown inside, AP reported.


Michael Coats, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, issued a statement saying Nowak "is officially on 30-day leave and has been removed from flight status and all mission-related activities."

posted at 08:17 AM | Link | Mundane | |


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This Blog was last updated Friday December 18, 2009 13:03:12 CDT (-06:00 GMT)
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