NASA's Space Program Takes on a Human Face

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Ralph
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NASA's Space Program Takes on a Human Face

Post by Ralph » Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:41 pm

Astronaut arrested on attempted kidnapping charges

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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- A NASA astronaut was arrested Monday on battery and attempted kidnapping charges after allegedly trying to subdue a romantic rival with pepper spray and abduct her from a parking lot at Orlando International Airport, police said.

Navy Capt. Lisa Marie Nowak, who was a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery in July, and Colleen Shipman were both reported to be "in a relationship" with astronaut Bill Oefelein, a Navy commander, according to a police report of the incident.

Nowak, 43, has been charged with battery, attempted kidnapping, attempted burglary to a vehicle and destruction of evidence. Police have recommended Nowak be held without bond.

According to the report, she told police that her relationship with Oefelein was "more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship."

Nowak drove from Houston, Texas, to Orlando to meet Shipman, who was flying the same route, to talk with the woman about her alleged relationship with Oefelein, the report said.

Shipman is an engineer assigned to the 45th Launch Support Squadron at Patrick Air Force Base, near the Kennedy Space Center.
Police: Woman feared for safety

Shipman told police that she arrived at the airport at about 1 a.m. but had to wait two hours for her luggage to arrive.

Once she retrieved her bags, she said she took a bus to the lot where her car was parked, noticing a woman wearing a trench coat who appeared to be following her.

Fearing for her safety, Shipman quickly stepped into her car, the police report said, adding that she reported hearing "running footsteps" behind her.

Shipman closed and locked her car door as Nowak slapped the window of the car and tried to open the car door, the report said.

Nowak told Shipman her ride had not arrived and asked for help, but Shipman refused, saying she would send help instead. When Nowak complained she couldn't hear Shipman and started to cry, Shipman opened her car window "about 2 inches" -- and Nowak sprayed pepper spray into the car, police said.
Diapers for long car trip

Shipman, her eyes burning, drove to a toll booth in the lot to summonpolice. An officer went to the bus stop and found Nowak, who was wearing a different coat, the report said. Approaching the stop, the officer observed Nowak put some items into a trash can, the report said.

Those items included a wig and a plastic bag containing a carbon dioxide-powered BB pistol, the report said.

Inside a bag Nowak was carrying, the officer found a tan trench coat, a new steel mallet, a new 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.

Nowak admitted the details of Shipman's allegations, according to the police report, and permitted a search of her car.

Inside the car, police found an a half-dozen latex gloves, MapQuest directions from Houston to Orlando International Airport, e-mails from Shipman to Oefelein, diapers that Nowak said she used to eliminate stops along the highway, a letter indicating how much she loved Oefelein and directions to Shipman's home address in Florida, the report said.

Asked about the BB pistol, Nowak told police it "was going to be used to entice Ms. Shipman to talk with her," the report said.

"Mrs. Nowak stated that she was not trying to cause any bodily harm to Ms. Shipman and that she only wanted to scare Ms. Shipman into talking with her," the police report said.

Nowak, who is married with three children and has been an astronaut since 1996, flew her first shuttle mission in July as a mission specialist aboard Discovery.

Oefelein, 41, was the pilot of the last shuttle mission, also aboard Discovery, which flew in December.

Johnson Space Center spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said that Oefelein would not make any comments through NASA at this time. To her knowledge, no one from NASA had spoken with Nowak yet, she said.

Two astronauts, Navy Capt. Chris Ferguson and retired Air Force Col. Steve Lindsey, have gone to Florida to establish contact with Nowak, Hawley said, adding that her status as an active-duty astronaut remains unchanged.

Lindsey, the chief astronaut, was the commander of Nowak's shuttle flight.



Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/05/space.love/index.html
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Re: NASA's Space Program Takes on a Human Face

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:33 am

Ralph wrote:Astronaut arrested on attempted kidnapping charges

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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- A NASA astronaut was arrested Monday on battery and attempted kidnapping charges after allegedly trying to subdue a romantic rival with pepper spray and abduct her from a parking lot at Orlando International Airport, police said.
Finally those wooden figures become interesting! Thank you, Ralph! You made my day.
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Post by Teresa B » Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:41 am

Obviously the woman was deranged by that nasty case of rosacea. Had she stopped in at my office on her way to Orlando, this whole mess might have been prevented. :)

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Post by Ralph » Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:35 am

Teresa B wrote:Obviously the woman was deranged by that nasty case of rosacea. Had she stopped in at my office on her way to Orlando, this whole mess might have been prevented. :)

Teresa
*****

And she would have been given a CD of your wonderful Mozart concerto performance to take with her on her next ride.

Wow, Teresa's practice would have treated its first true Space Cadet!
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Post by Gary » Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:01 am

Another Houston connection. :(

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Post by Teresa B » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:57 pm

Ralph wrote:
And she would have been given a CD of your wonderful Mozart concerto performance to take with her on her next ride.

Wow, Teresa's practice would have treated its first true Space Cadet!
Many thanks, Ralph!
Teresa
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Post by Ralph » Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:59 pm

This is REALLY weird. I do not believe the Navy captain will make rear admiral.

An incident like this calls into question our whole space program.

*****

From The New York Times:

February 6, 2007
Astronaut Charged With Attempted Kidnapping
By CHRISTINE HAUSER

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A NASA astronaut who drove hundreds of miles to confront a romantic rival, wearing diapers on the journey so that she would not have to stop to use the restroom, appeared in court today after being arrested on attempted kidnapping and other charges.

The astronaut, Lisa Marie Nowak, 43, a Navy captain who flew on a shuttle mission last summer, mostly kept her head down during the preliminary appearance in an Orange County, Fla. court, but nodded and said “yes” a few times when the judge explained that she was not to have any contact with the other woman, identified as Colleen Shipman, a captain in the Air Force.

She was arrested on Monday on charges of attempted kidnapping, vehicle burglary with battery, destruction of evidence and battery. Bail was set at $15,500, and Captain Nowak, who has been working at NASA, was ordered to wear a tracking device.

But a spokesman for the jail, Allen Moore, told CNN today that she was being held in custody as authorities prepared to file charges of attempted first-degree murder against her.

The Orlando police allege that Captain Nowak drove 950 miles from Houston to Orlando -- wearing adult diapers -- and disguised herself in a dark wig, glasses and trench coat to confront Captain Shipman in the parking lot of Orlando International Airport, according to a police affidavit. Captain Nowak considered her a rival for the affections of a fellow astronaut, Cmdr. Bill Oefelein, according to the affidavit.

The Orlando police said that Captain Nowak followed Captain Shipman, who had arrived there on a flight at about 1 a.m. Monday morning, to a parking lot at the airport. Captain Shipman noticed she was being followed and quickly entered her car after hearing “running footsteps” behind her, according to the affidavit.

Captain Nowak, with her hood pulled over her head, approached the car window and tried to open the door.

“Can you help me please?” she said to Captain Shipman, according to the affidavit. “My boyfriend was supposed to pick me up and he is not here. I’ve been traveling and it’s late. Can you give me a ride to the parking office?”

Captain Shipman said no but offered to send help, which Captain Nowak declined, asking to use her cell phone instead. Captain Shipman told her the battery was dead.

When Captain Shipman would not open the door, Captain Nowak began to cry and said she could not hear Captain Shipman, the affidavit said. When Captain Shipman cracked the window, Captain Nowak sprayed pepper spray into the vehicle, the authorities said.

Captain Shipman then drove away and summoned the authorities.

Captain Nowak later told police that spraying the pepper spray “was stupid,” according to the affidavit.

“Nowak felt that she needed to meet with Shipman and discuss the details of their relationship with the male astronaut,” a police statement said.

Captain Nowak’s court appearance was broadcast live on television. Stations displayed file photos of the astronaut smiling broadly in an orange space suit, juxtaposed with the police mug shot of Captain Nowak after her arrest, her brow furrowed and hair splayed in all directions.

In court today, her attorney argued that she was an “excellent candidate for pre-trial release” because she had no criminal record, and that he saw no attempt to kidnap, but rather an “attempt to speak to some one in their vehicle.” He said that Captain Nowak had an exemplary record of commitment to her space career and the country, indicating she could be trusted to return to court and to stay away from Captain Shipman. “One’s good works must count for something,” he said.

The state attorney said that the facts indicated a carefully conceived plan to kidnap and perhaps to injure Captain Shipman.

A NASA official told the court today that before the incident, Captain Nowak, who is married with three children, and Captain Shipman were strangers.

After authorities were notified by Captain Shipman, an officer followed Captain Nowak and watched her throw away a bag containing the wig and a BB gun. They also found a steel mallet, a 4-inch folding knife, rubber tubing, rubber gloves, $600 in cash, love letters — all in bags and in her car, the police said.

The police said she described her relationship with Commander Oefelein as “more than a working relationship, but less than a romantic relationship.” During a July shuttle mission last year, Captain Nowak’s tasks included operating a robotic arm. Commander Oefelein served on a mission by space shuttle Discovery in December.
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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:07 pm

I'm looking forward to the orbituary.

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Post by jack stowaway » Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:46 pm

A fascinating case.

The woman had everything, it seems. Marriage, three children, a great job, status, unique qualifications. What could prevail upon her to throw it all away by such appallingly criminal behaviour?

The details are chilling. What, one wonders, did she intend with the steel mallet and rubber tubing?

But oddly, what disturbed me most about the report is the the charming little aside that she relieved herself into diapers along the way rather than use roadside rest stops. A trick, no doubt, picked up from the space program.

And contrast the two photographs. In the orange jump suit she presents as a star-bound Miss America. In the mug shot she looks like a demented drug addict. But that's the knavery of cameras. My passport photo shows me in similar mode -- as US Immigration Authorities would doubtless testify.

Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:45 pm

Hey
If you’re an astronaut and are going to crack up, better to do it in diapers in a parking garage than the other obvious place

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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:49 pm

jack stowaway wrote:A fascinating case.

The woman had everything, it seems. Marriage, three children, a great job, status, unique qualifications. What could prevail upon her to throw it all away by such appallingly criminal behaviour?
PMS?

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Ralph » Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:53 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
jack stowaway wrote:A fascinating case.

The woman had everything, it seems. Marriage, three children, a great job, status, unique qualifications. What could prevail upon her to throw it all away by such appallingly criminal behaviour?
PMS?
*****

Not likely. This reminds me of the sad case of former New York State Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, Sol Wachtler. I knew him. He went off the deep end because of a failing extramarital relationship and did some truly wacko things that wound him upm in federal prison. Drugs played a role and I wouldn't be surprised if that turns out to be a factor here.

Of course I don't have the full story but attempted murder in the first degree appears to be prosecutorial overcharging.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:04 pm

Ralph Writes:
Drugs played a role and I wouldn't be surprised if that turns out to be a factor here.
Wachtler was about as big an embarrassment as is humanly possible

I do not sense any drug use here…

I say she plays the temporary insanity card (She is recently divorced and was assigned to “Cap Com” on the next flight) “The pressure was just too much”

Her career at NASA and as a Naval Officer is over, but no big criminal overtones

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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:22 pm

Ted wrote:Her career at NASA and as a Naval Officer is over, but no big criminal overtones
I wouldn't make that assumption. I don't think "the career is over, he/she's been punished enough" carries much weight these days.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Gary » Tue Feb 06, 2007 9:46 pm

jack stowaway wrote:What, one wonders, did she intend with the steel mallet and rubber tubing?
To join the Blue Man Group. In case no one knows what this is, read this.

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Ted

Post by Ted » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:16 pm

JB Wrote:
Ted wrote:
Her career at NASA and as a Naval Officer is over, but no big criminal overtones
I wouldn't make that assumption. I don't think "the career is over, he/she's been punished enough" carries much weight these days.
This is NASA John, when all is said and done she is history, the Navy may give her an honorable discharge but beyond that….

It’s ironic how the state of Fl didn’t consider her (a pilot and astronaut) to be a “Flight Risk”

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Post by Ralph » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:16 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Ted wrote:Her career at NASA and as a Naval Officer is over, but no big criminal overtones
I wouldn't make that assumption. I don't think "the career is over, he/she's been punished enough" carries much weight these days.
*****

All three military careers are over. On the facts known so far, Nowak committed assault with the pepper spray. Apparently she also used a NASA computer to get information on the Air Force captain. Those charges will be pursued.

As to the others, the commander will simply not be promoted even though he may not have committed a criminal offense. It's not clear whether he is married. If so, he will certainly be charged with adultery.

And CPT Shipman, the victim - her career probably just quietly ends with poor assignments and no promotion.
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Post by burnitdown » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:44 pm

She was stressed the shuttle would blow up again, poor thing.

Tragedies like this are heartbreaking. Lost souls in a lost world...

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Post by RebLem » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:48 am

I think she and Ted Atkatz, the CSO percussionist who quit to do rock music would make a lovely couple.
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Post by pizza » Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:24 pm

Ralph wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
Ted wrote:Her career at NASA and as a Naval Officer is over, but no big criminal overtones
I wouldn't make that assumption. I don't think "the career is over, he/she's been punished enough" carries much weight these days.
*****

All three military careers are over. On the facts known so far, Nowak committed assault with the pepper spray. Apparently she also used a NASA computer to get information on the Air Force captain. Those charges will be pursued.

As to the others, the commander will simply not be promoted even though he may not have committed a criminal offense. It's not clear whether he is married. If so, he will certainly be charged with adultery.

And CPT Shipman, the victim - her career probably just quietly ends with poor assignments and no promotion.
After the matter is off the mainstream news for a while, it may quietly disappear altogether. The government may decide that it is in the best interests of NASA for an agreed resolution. If the victim is satisfied and can be persuaded not to testify, there isn't much of a case against Nowak.

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Post by Ralph » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:49 pm

pizza wrote:
Ralph wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:
Ted wrote:Her career at NASA and as a Naval Officer is over, but no big criminal overtones
I wouldn't make that assumption. I don't think "the career is over, he/she's been punished enough" carries much weight these days.
*****

All three military careers are over. On the facts known so far, Nowak committed assault with the pepper spray. Apparently she also used a NASA computer to get information on the Air Force captain. Those charges will be pursued.

As to the others, the commander will simply not be promoted even though he may not have committed a criminal offense. It's not clear whether he is married. If so, he will certainly be charged with adultery.

And CPT Shipman, the victim - her career probably just quietly ends with poor assignments and no promotion.
After the matter is off the mainstream news for a while, it may quietly disappear altogether. The government may decide that it is in the best interests of NASA for an agreed resolution. If the victim is satisfied and can be persuaded not to testify, there isn't much of a case against Nowak.
******

It will probably be settled because there is clear overcharging unless there's more information as to her intent than has been reported. She has no criminal record and there obviously are psychological problems. I'm sure defense counsel is having her evaluated by a psychiatrist and so is NASA, not that she has any future there.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:10 pm

She has no criminal record and there obviously are psychological problems. I'm sure defense counsel is having her evaluated by a psychiatrist and so is NASA, not that she has any future there.
NASA’s Dr’s will help her cause as far as psychological defense goes
The reality is none of the items found on her are illegal to carry either on her person or in a car
I think the state embarrassed itself yesterday with the attempted murder charge
As I alluded a few posts earlier nole contendere to some kind of minor assault charge at worst

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Re: NASA's Space Program Takes on a Human Face

Post by RebLem » Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:56 pm

Image


Would you want to be in an airlock with this woman?
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Post by Ralph » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:20 pm

Ted wrote:
She has no criminal record and there obviously are psychological problems. I'm sure defense counsel is having her evaluated by a psychiatrist and so is NASA, not that she has any future there.
NASA’s Dr’s will help her cause as far as psychological defense goes
The reality is none of the items found on her are illegal to carry either on her person or in a car
I think the state embarrassed itself yesterday with the attempted murder charge
As I alluded a few posts earlier nole contendere to some kind of minor assault charge at worst
*****

There's no "psychological defense." Her mental state is relevant to negotiating a disposition or, if convicted, a sanction. Clearly, she is not legally incompetent to stand trial.
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Re: NASA's Space Program Takes on a Human Face

Post by Ralph » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:21 pm

RebLem wrote:Image


Would you want to be in an airlock with this woman?
*****

Might be fun.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

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Ted

Post by Ted » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:22 pm

“What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours”

Image

Ted

Post by Ted » Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:30 pm

Ralph Writes:
Ted wrote:
Quote:
She has no criminal record and there obviously are psychological problems. I'm sure defense counsel is having her evaluated by a psychiatrist and so is NASA, not that she has any future there.


NASA’s Dr’s will help her cause as far as psychological defense goes
The reality is none of the items found on her are illegal to carry either on her person or in a car
I think the state embarrassed itself yesterday with the attempted murder charge
As I alluded a few posts earlier nole contendere to some kind of minor assault charge at worst


*****

There's no "psychological defense." Her mental state is relevant to negotiating a disposition or, if convicted, a sanction. Clearly, she is not legally incompetent to stand trial.
I understand Ralph, all I’m saying is whatever the outcome (and I still maintain it will not be felonious assault type of affair) her mental state will be a mitigating factor

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