Does anything say "story of the year" quite like an astronaut love triangle?
This is HouStoned. We're standing live outside Johnson Space Center, more than 900 miles from Orlando, where NASA astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak was charged with attempted kidnapping, attempted vehicular burglary, destruction of evidence and battery. We're not quite sure why it was necessary for us to post this dispatch from JSC, but hey, that's what the TV news channels are doing.
According to the police affidavit (available here), Nowak was involved in a bizarre love triangle — "more than a working relationship, but less than a romantic relationship" — with an astronaut named Bill Oefeline and a woman named Colleen Shipman. Nowak didn't always know the other half of her "more than a working relationship" was involved with another woman, and — as you might've guessed from the list of felony charges above — she really didn't take the news very well.
According to the police report, when Nowak learned Shipman was taking a plane from Houston to Orlando, Nowak hopped in the car — road trip! — and hauled ass to the Sunshine State. The report goes on to say Nowak had packed up a bunch of adult diapers to make sure she wouldn't lose any precious time pulling over. (In her defense, astronauts are trained to piss in their pants. Remember that scene in The Right Stuff with Scott Glenn? Hilarious!)
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So Nowak got to Orlando, donned a wig and trench coat — you know, just to make sure she looked extra sketchy — and tailed Shipman from the airport terminal to her car, according to the report. Nowak then allegedly slapped on the car door and tried to get in before pleading with Shipman to help her because her ride hadn't arrived. Shipman apparently sensed something was up — perhaps it had something to do with a woman in a wig and trench coat trying to open her car door? — so she refused to lend Nowak her cell phone. She did, however, open the car window a couple of inches, at which point Nowak allegedly sprayed her in the face with pepper spray.
Nowak told the police she only wanted to speak with Shipman about Oefeline. The cops, apparently unaware spraying someone with pepper spray is a traditional spaceman greeting, arrested Nowak yesterday. She was slated to be released on bail this morning, but the authorities have decided to tack on the charge of attempted murder.
This is HouStoned, reporting live from Johnson Space Center. We'll have more as this story develops. — Keith Plocek