Astronaut Lisa Nowak (in court on Feb. 6) "was extremely unstable and feels like a scorned woman," Colleen Shipman wrote in her application for a restraining order.
Just last July she gazed at the Earth from 220 miles in space, so driving 14 hours straight wasn't that big a deal for Lisa Nowak. Still, when she checked into the La Quinta Inn near the Orlando International Airport around midnight Feb. 5, "she looked like she had been travelling all night and she said she was going to sleep as soon as she could," says the hotel clerk who checked her in. Instead, Nowak – disguised in a dark wig and hooded trench coat – hopped aboard a courtesy shuttle that took her to the airport. "I'm picking up my boyfriend," she told the driver.
As the world now knows, Lisa Nowak – a highly regarded astronaut who flew aboard the shuttle Discovery last summer – wasn't meeting her boyfriend but rather the woman she believed was stealing the man she loved. What happened next – a frantic and violent confrontation in the airport parking lot, the result of a bizarre love triangle – has left NASA officials, and anyone who knows Nowak, absolutely stunned.
Nowak, 43, a married mother of three, was in love with Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein, 41, who trained alongside her in NASA's space shuttle program and piloted the Discovery in a mission last December. At the same time, Oefelein, the divorced father of two children, was apparently romantically involved with Colleen Shipman, 30, a U.S. Air Force captain and engineer assigned to a base near Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.