Lisa Nowak, Disgraced Astronaut

Scant sympathy for a lovesick former spacewoman

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In early 2007, the media bombarded Americans with strange details of a NASA love triangle that came to light with the arrest of astronaut Lisa Nowak in Orlando. Now, the saga has concluded, at least as far as the law is concerned.

Quick recap: Nowak was seeing fellow astronaut William Oefelein until he dumped her to date another colleague, Air Force engineer Colleen Shipman. Plotting revenge, Nowak drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando in a car packed with an odd, incriminating assortment of items: latex gloves, wig, BB pistol, pepper spray, hammer, gloves, rubber tubing, garbage bags, knife and diapers. (Nowak disputes the claim that she was wearing a diaper while driving.) Nowak eventually found Shipman, discharged pepper spray through her car window, and was arrested on charges of attempted kidnapping and battery.

Two years later, the disgraced and discharged astronaut pled guilty to burglary and battery. She received a reduced sentence of one year on probation, 50 hours of community service and 8 hours of anger-management classes. Predictably, some on Twitter and in the mainstream press have taken the opportunity to mock the troubled woman anew:

  • Richard Connelley, Houston Press: "Lisa Nowak, lifetime member of the Mugshot Hall of Fame and the face that launched a thousand diaper jokes, pleaded guilty today to a felony charge of car burglary and misdemeanor assault."
  • Slate: "Diaper-astronaut pleads guilty to burglary, innocent to diaper-wearing"
  • WESH News: "Updated the Lisa Nowak slideshow to tell the story from aspiring astronaut to guilty plea"
  • Diane Fanning: "I expected a plea deal outcome in the Lisa Nowak trial but I still feel badly for the residual trauma to Colleen Shipman."
  • Sam Gerrits: "Love-Triangle Astronaut Lisa Nowak" darn. brilliant hardbodies at it like bunnies, complex NASA space stuff, I smell a new TV-Series…."
  • Amy Fredericks: "Lisa Nowak got off with a light sentence. But she will be serving life as 'the one who wore diapers'. That's no small thing."
  • Seatrades: Glad former spacecadet Nowak only got two days for driving with diapers and Madea-like thoughts. I pity the HAL that messes with her.
  • Pigonna: "I had this astronaut friend, totally loved his fiancée; and then the day before his mission,…"
  • Joseph68: "omg diaper girl Lisa Nowak in the news again! That was the funniest thing ever!"
  • Fac104: "remember 'astronauts gone wild?'
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.