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Astronaut facing attempted murder charge

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by user Layla

Crossposted from The HILL Chronicles

This sick tale to be told is that this is a tawdry love triangle that has one more twist and it involves involves two astronauts. She was the Robochick. He was Billy-O and Nowak was obsessed with him. Nowak apparently confronted the woman she believed was her rival for the affections of William "Billy-O" Oefelein.

Lisa Nowak, 43, a married mother of three who flew on a space shuttle in July, was charged with attempted murder, accused of hatching an extraordinary plot to kidnap Colleen Shipman, who she believed was romantically involved with Oefelein, a space shuttle pilot.

Nowak confronted Shipman, who was in her car at the Orlando airport, and sprayed something at her, possibly pepper spray. At first the astronaut was charged with attempted kidnapping and other counts. Then prosecutors upped the charge to attempted murder, basing it on the weapons and other items they said police had found with Nowak or in her car: pepper spray, a BB-gun, a new steel mallet, knife and rubber tubing.

Nowak was released from jail on $25,500 bail and ordered to wear a monitoring device.

NASA has put Nowak on a 30-day leave and removed her from mission duties. Apparently NASA is concerned about the people involved and their families. NASA also said in a statement that "We try not to concern ourselves with our employees’ personal lives."

Ms. Shipman filed a request for a protective order against Ms. Nowak, asking that she be prohibited from going within 500 feet (150 metres) of her. In the handwritten request, she described Ms. Nowak as “acquaintance of boyfriend” but did not identify the man. She said Ms. Nowak had stalked her for two months.

The details of the relationships of all three still remains unclear. Nowak and Oefelein, who both live in the Houston area, had trained together as astronauts, but never flew into space together. Shipman, 30, works at Patrick Air Force Base near Kennedy Space Center.

Nowak’s husband cannot be found at this time for comments. There is no doubt that he is in shock at this time. What a horrid sorted situation for all involved.

It is quite obvious that NASA needs to have a stronger psychological and behavioural health support system for shuttle astronauts.







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