Saturday, June 30, 2007

Space sex triangle: Astronaut attacks rival with BB gun and pepper spray

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This article was originally published Feb. 6, 2007. I moved it to the top of the stack to highlight today's update.

"...Been away so long I hardly knew the place...."

Sorry for the long absence. Mary and the Widow's Son took the Global Orgasm thing a bit too seriously, and have been doing the John Lennon-Yoko Ono thing in bed since Dec. 22. [See previous story.]

Nothing like a good sex in space scandal to send us back to our keyboards, though.

NASA astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak, known as "Robo-Chick" by fellow astronauts and mission commanders because she operated the robotic arm on her space shuttle mission last year, allegedly drove non-stop more than 12 hours from Texas to Florida to attack her rival for another astronaut's attentions. She was so determined to get there, she wore diapers so she wouldn't have to stop for restroom breaks, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Armed with a BB gun and a folding knife and wearing a wig, latex gloves and a trench coat, she apparently went straight to the Orlando airport. She met Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman's flight, then followed Shipman to her car, where she attacked her with pepper spray.

Nowak was a mission specialist on a Space Shuttle Discovery flight last summer. She is charged with attempted kidnapping, battery, attempted vehicle burglary with battery and destruction of evidence. She is being held without bail in Orange County Jail.

She told police she's been banging, er, I mean, "involved in a relationship with," Bill Oefelein, another NASA astronaut. Nowak described her relationship with Oefelein as "more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship," according to the charging affidavit.

Oefelein piloted the most recent shuttle flight in December. The two had not been into space together. (How come we hear about experiments in space with animals and alfalfa sprouts, but no one ever talks about the zero-gee sex experiments you just know have been going on since the first woman blasted into space?)

Nowak drove to Orlando to confront Shipman when she found out Shipman was flying to Orlando to meet with Oefelein. She told police the BB gun "was going to be used to entice Ms. Shipman to talk with her."

Capt. Nowak is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis with a degree in aerospace engineering, and a former test pilot. She has been in the space space program since 1996.

"My training is what you might think of as a Flight Engineer on ascent and entry," she said in a pre-flight interview on the NASA Web site. "I sit behind and between the pilot and commander and help coordinate things and keep the big picture."

Her NASA biography, posted in Oct. 2006, shows that she is the married mother of three children.

Navy Commander Oefelein is a former test pilot who attended TOPGUN, the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School.

I can't wait to see these people on Jerry Springer's show. It's not just trailer trash who act stupid when they get jealous.

Image #1: The most phallic rocket photo I could find.

Image #2: Lisa Nowak's official NASA photo.

Image #3: Lisa Nowak's mug shot taken shortly after her arrest. I wouldn't want to wake up next to that face. Maybe neither did Commander Oefelein.

Image #4: Bill Oefelein's offical NASA photo.


UPDATE Monday, Feb. 12: Silvestro's Italian restaurant in Cocoa Beach, Fla., held a fundraiser dinner for Lisa Nowak on Sunday evening. About 70 diners participated, CNN reported.

"We stand by our friends in time of need, and it's a time of need," co-owner Tony Bless said. He told reporters that in addition to many complaints, he's gotten supportive calls and e-mails from as far away as Italy.

UPDATE Wed., March 7: Capt. Nowak has been fired by NASA, to whom she had been "on loan." She will return to duty in the U.S. Navy, the AP reported today.

UPDATE Wed., April 11: A judge yesterday unsealed records related to Nowak's arrest. Police reports indicate they found 69 orange pills wrapped in four brown paper towels, a CD containing 16 images of photos and drawings mostly showing bondage scenes of a tied-up white woman, $600 in U.S. currency and 41 pounds U.K. They also found two USB drives containing family photos and NASA material.

They did not say who was in the bondage pictures, and have not released information on what kind of pills they were, Fox News reported.

UPDATE Sat. June 30: Nowak's attorney says that she did not wear a diaper on her drive from Houston to Florida. The diapers found in the car's trunk were several years old, he said, according to a report from Fox News yesterday.

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