Losing the Big Picture

In what can only be considered an extremely sad case, the LA Times is reporting the emotional meltdown of a Space Shuttle flight specialist.

A NASA astronaut is being held without bail after police say she attacked her rival for another astronaut’s attention at Orlando International Airport Monday.

Lisa Marie Nowak drove more than 12 hours from Texas to meet the 1 a.m. flight of a younger woman who had also been seeing the astronaut Nowak pined for, according to Orlando police.

Nowak — who was a mission specialist on a Discovery launch last summer — was wearing a trench coat and wig and had a knife, BB pistol, and latex gloves in her car, reports show. They also found diapers, which Nowak said she used so she wouldn’t have to stop on the 1,000-mile drive. Reports show that after U.S. Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman’s flight arrived, Nowak followed her to the airport’s Blue Lot for long-term parking, tried to get into Shipman’s car and then doused her with pepper spray.

Nowak, 43, is charged with attempted kidnapping, battery, attempted vehicle burglary with battery and destruction of evidence. Police considered her such a danger that they requested she be held without bail in the Orange County Jail, reports show.

Wow. I feel sorry for all the people involved here. Nowak, Shipman and the man in the middle Oefelein. The NASA press people probably didn’t sleep very well last night either.

Ms Nowak has destroyed her career. She probably didn’t do Mr Oefelien’s a whole hell of a lot of good either and I’m sure Ms Shipman will need to speak to a few victim counselors before she gets over this.

But for me the most haunting part is the quote the Time’s reporter found.

“A lot of 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.”

I guess she lost sight of the big picture.

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3 comments so far

  1. Teresa on

    Lost sight of the big picture? I’m not even sure Earth is in the viewscreen.

    Truly a tragic circumstance, although not as bad as it could have been.

  2. blc303 on

    Unfortunately, if convicted and imprisoned, she is unlikely to get the help she will need.

    Her only hope will be to be paroled. Then there is the question of whether her family self destructs over this.

    I think she did follow her training in a way. Focus on the problem and find a solution. Unfortunately the ‘solution’ was quite what most people would agree with. *sigh*

  3. Teresa on

    It depends on the kind of person she is. Landing in prison might give her the reality check she needs, like hitting rock bottom, and she might seek out help.

    Unfortunatly, she will probably jsut go deeper into her own denial and take it as proof that the whole world is aginst her.

    Kind of like Republicans, the more they follow their path, the worse things get, and the more they are convinved that they are being “tested” to persist in their faith that they are right and are just being attacked by people who hate their rightness.


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