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Astronaut charged with kidnap attempt
February 5, 2007 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Astronaut charged with kidnap attempt. It's current, it's for real, and each paragraph is weirder than the last.
posted by NortonDC (206 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
"If you were just going to talk to someone, I don't know that you would need a wig, a trench coat, an air cartridge BB gun and pepper spray," said Sgt. Barbara Jones, a spokeswoman for the Orlando Police Department.

Wow. Not to mention the diapers.
posted by TonyRobots at 7:58 PM on February 5, 2007


<popculturereference show="Upright Citizens Brigade">Those damn filthy no-good astronauts!</popculturereference>
posted by Rhomboid at 7:59 PM on February 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Desperate Astronauts".
Next Oprah.
posted by Dizzy at 8:00 PM on February 5, 2007


Wasn't this an episode of Monk?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:02 PM on February 5, 2007


Wow... I actually recommend the Wikipedia page as it's like one of those surreal crackhead "before & after" pictures.

It's weird how this kind of snuffs out the idea of astronauts as role models representing the highest in honor and integrity. Having grown up in the 1970s that notion was kind of instilled in me. Now it's not quite the same anymore.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:03 PM on February 5, 2007


Here's a picture of her before she went wacko.
posted by lee at 8:04 PM on February 5, 2007


I'd think an astronaut would know that a vacuum works better than diapers.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:04 PM on February 5, 2007


Yahoo's slideshow.
posted by NortonDC at 8:05 PM on February 5, 2007


The diapers really launched the crazy, and then the crazy took off . . . like a rocket!
posted by onlyconnect at 8:05 PM on February 5, 2007


You'd look just as shot to hell as this one when the realization that your coveted career was crushed as the cops snapped your mugshot.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:06 PM on February 5, 2007


There were also diapers in her car, which the astronaut explained she had used during the drive from Houston, Texas to Orlando, Florida so she did not have to stop to urinate.

Ah, love, sweet love.
posted by porpoise at 8:06 PM on February 5, 2007


Wait a sec---
Isn't it NASA policy that only the unstable astronauts wear the Orange Spacesuit?
So the other 'nauts know not to get too close to them when their in space and stuff?
Why didn't CAPCOM work the problem, people?
posted by Dizzy at 8:07 PM on February 5, 2007


An asronaut in prison? should make for interesting escape attempts.
posted by jonmc at 8:10 PM on February 5, 2007


Does stopping to use the bathroom really take an exorbitant amount of time that you feel the need to shave off those minutes by wear diapers? Wouldn't it be necessary to change yourself everyone once and a while?
posted by bob sarabia at 8:11 PM on February 5, 2007


...it's all so tawdry and unastronautlike. Yay, they let a human into the space program!
posted by nj_subgenius at 8:11 PM on February 5, 2007


It's quite sad, really. Astronauts can break just like anyone else. It's just that when they do, it becomes national news. I hope she pulls herself together and am glad that she didn't harm herself or anyone else.
posted by aladfar at 8:12 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love the person who added this line to the article:
Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry.
posted by smackfu at 8:12 PM on February 5, 2007


Another reason why we should promote robotic space exploration - Megatron would look cool in his mugshot.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:13 PM on February 5, 2007


This is the craziest fucking thing I've ever heard.

Also, it's far from flattering, but I'll come out and say that's not, for a mug shot, so terrible. Unhappy and disshevelled, but far from, you know, George Clintonesque or anything.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:14 PM on February 5, 2007


As of October, she was married and had 3 kids.
posted by smackfu at 8:15 PM on February 5, 2007


Elaine: Ok, why? What is so appealing to men about a cat fight?

Kramer: Yeye cat fight!
posted by stbalbach at 8:18 PM on February 5, 2007


Don't be too rough on her. She just spaced out for a little while, that's all.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:19 PM on February 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pretty sad.

A 43 year old, highly driven, professional woman gone overboard on a bad trip of love.
posted by rougy at 8:19 PM on February 5, 2007


I am sure she will get the charges reduced and get probation.
posted by lee at 8:20 PM on February 5, 2007


According to the article, she drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront Shipman at the Orlando airport, where Shipman had just arrived... from Houston. Couldn't she just have stopped her at the Houston airport, and skipped the diapers altogether?
posted by Joe Invisible at 8:21 PM on February 5, 2007


Rhombold, astronauts eat breaksfast upside-down!
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 8:22 PM on February 5, 2007


Ground Control to Capt. Lisa
Ground Control to Capt. Lisa
Pack your pepper spray
and put your diaper on

Ground Control to Capt. Lisa
Commencing countdown,
engine on
Check ignition
and may Bill's love be with you

[spoken]
Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff

This is Ground Control
to Capt. Lisa
You've really made the grade
And the intertubes want to know whose wigs you wear
Nowak's rocket to web legend
begins here
posted by maryh at 8:23 PM on February 5, 2007 [31 favorites]


Sad.
posted by mapalm at 8:24 PM on February 5, 2007


I can't believe I wasted my 1,000 comment on that. I hate myself.
posted by maryh at 8:25 PM on February 5, 2007 [6 favorites]


And your comment #1001 was even shittier. It's a downward spiral for you, maryh.

Just kidding, congratulations, to the extent that you believe it to be warranted.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:27 PM on February 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


Couldn't she just have stopped her at the Houston airport, and skipped the diapers altogether?

I wouldn't be surprised if she did confront or try to confront her at the Houston airport, then decided she wanted another talk, calculated as an experienced pilot how long the plane ride would take and realized diapers were the only way to do it.

Dude she's in love with doesn't look that great in those Yahoo photos.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:27 PM on February 5, 2007


I don't know, it can get awful lonely in the black.
posted by dsword at 8:27 PM on February 5, 2007


And congrats on your comment #1000. I LOL'ed.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:28 PM on February 5, 2007


I just wonder if this could finally mean an answer to the age old questions about astronauts having sex in space.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:28 PM on February 5, 2007


She outranks him too. That's fraternization.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:31 PM on February 5, 2007


I warned you guys about letting women into the space program.
posted by RavinDave at 8:32 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Love makes fools of us all, but this one's gonna be pretty hard to live down there at the mission control water cooler.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 8:35 PM on February 5, 2007


It's funny cuz it's true! thx ibmcginty!
posted by maryh at 8:35 PM on February 5, 2007


And somewhere Al Green weeps...
posted by peeedro at 8:35 PM on February 5, 2007


Guy- Oh, yeah, smartypants! Eat this hamburger!

Astronaut- OK, I'll just need a blender.
posted by Balisong at 8:37 PM on February 5, 2007


There can be only one explanation: *SPACE MADNESS*
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:41 PM on February 5, 2007


It's only fraternization if he's enlisted or if she's his boss. But she's a Navy Captain, which is like a Colonel in the Army.
posted by atchafalaya at 8:44 PM on February 5, 2007


I love the person who added this line to the article:
Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry.


Have you seen the space shuttle lately? I'd wear two pairs!
posted by loquacious at 8:44 PM on February 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if she did confront or try to confront her at the Houston airport, then decided she wanted another talk, calculated as an experienced pilot how long the plane ride would take and realized diapers were the only way to do it.

900 miles at 70 mph is nearly 13 hours (longer if you stop to pee). I know airport delays are bad and all, but still...
posted by Joe Invisible at 8:46 PM on February 5, 2007


This seems like a classic case of erotomania.
posted by Kattullus at 8:49 PM on February 5, 2007


The Orange County charging affidavit has more details (pdf, via the Orlando Sentinel).
posted by gubo at 8:52 PM on February 5, 2007


No matter how the criminal charges work out, she's never going to space again. The politics of the Astronaut Office are as inscrutable as the Kremlin, but basically, you dare not screw up lest you spend three years supervising Solid Rocket Booster quality control in Utah.

She'll probably lose her Navy career, too, for that.

She outranks him too. That's fraternization.

The other woman is a CPT in the USAF. One big happy family ...

An asronaut in prison? should make for interesting escape attempts.

"Ten years ago, a crack commando astronaut unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit."
posted by dhartung at 8:52 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Those damn filthy no-good astronauts!

Astro-not-even!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:53 PM on February 5, 2007


UbuRoivas, the first thing I thought of when I read this story was an argument that my then-boyfriend and I got into after watching that Ren & Stimpy episode, regarding the existence of Space Madness. I said it was a real, observable psychological malady related to what that guy in The Abyss had after living in a pressurized environment for so long. Anyway, for years afterwards, whenever I was incorrect about something the then-boyfriend would smugly add "And there's no such thing as Space Madness either."

But he was wrong. WRONG. This was pretty clearly space madness.
posted by cirocco at 8:53 PM on February 5, 2007


You are assuming that she decided to do the speed limit amidst her madness.
posted by floam at 8:54 PM on February 5, 2007


Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry.

My childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut have now been completely destroyed. Thank you, Yahoo News.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:54 PM on February 5, 2007


Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of 'the rat race' is not yet final.

-Hunter S. Thompson
posted by peeedro at 8:56 PM on February 5, 2007


This is why we can't have sex in space.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:57 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


omgwtf
posted by Tones at 8:58 PM on February 5, 2007


Sounds totally manic. I wonder if she's OCD, too.
posted by jamjam at 8:59 PM on February 5, 2007


Obviously, the person that returned from space is not the same person that returned from space. When the hatching begins it will all make sense, but by then it will be too late.
posted by craniac at 9:00 PM on February 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


This is why we can't have sex in space.

Sure we can!
posted by peeedro at 9:01 PM on February 5, 2007


This is the greatest article ever written.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:08 PM on February 5, 2007


Goin' on a year now and I ain't had nuthin' twixt my nethers that weren't run on batteries!
posted by Falconetti at 9:08 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll be in my bunk.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:11 PM on February 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Post needs a batshitinsane tag.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 PM on February 5, 2007


Lovecrazy...kidnapping...astronaut...diapers...24-hour-newschannel GOLD.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:17 PM on February 5, 2007


She was denied bail.

Total flight risk.
posted by delmoi at 9:19 PM on February 5, 2007 [16 favorites]


Yay Falconetti and ROU_Xenophobe!

Boo Space....

...Madness.
posted by abulafa at 9:21 PM on February 5, 2007


Wow... I actually recommend the Wikipedia page as it's like one of those surreal crackhead "before & after" pictures.

That's a bit over the top, she's a very attractive women for her age, and in the picture she just looks a little, well a lot disheveled. Give her a shower, some makeup, and a better situation and she would look a lot better.
posted by delmoi at 9:22 PM on February 5, 2007


Total flight risk.

Okay, that made me laugh.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 PM on February 5, 2007


Aww crap, I've met her. She lives nearby. This will be all everyone in my area is going to talk about now.

First you have Andrea Yates drowning her kids, then Clara Harris running down her husband with his daughter in the car and now this. I'm telling you, there is something wrong with the women in Clear Lake.
posted by DragonBoy at 9:22 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll be in my bunk.

Yow. Wikipedia is on it.
posted by peeedro at 9:25 PM on February 5, 2007


she's a very attractive women for her age, and in the picture she just looks a little, well a lot disheveled.

I agree. In fact, in spite of some troubled hairstyling, I think she looks hadsomely tragic. In the official portrait, she looks a little loonier.
posted by maryh at 9:28 PM on February 5, 2007


Man, the UCB has been hip to this astronaut shit for years. (1)
posted by chlorus at 9:33 PM on February 5, 2007


Is that a BB gun in my diaper, or am I just stalking you?
posted by NortonDC at 9:35 PM on February 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


First you have Andrea Yates drowning her kids, then Clara Harris running down her husband with his daughter in the car and now this. I'm telling you, there is something wrong with the women in Clear Lake.
posted by DragonBoy


Master planned communities always have evil lurking underneath.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:37 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


she's a very attractive women for her age, and in the picture she just looks a little, well a lot disheveled

Yes, quite haggard. She probably hasn't had a diaper change in hours, either. You try acting all sunshine & smiles with a fearsome rash starting to kick in.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:43 PM on February 5, 2007


I think her brain has a faulty O-ring.
posted by Falconetti at 9:47 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


My childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut have now been completely destroyed.

It's worse than you think. They don't even get to wear special supersecret astronaut diapers:

"We all wore Huggies diapers, and we all had to use them, too."

But wait! The day is saved after all! According to NASA, "The super-absorbent fabric used in disposable diapers was developed so Apollo astronauts could stay on spacewalks for six hours or more. The fabric can hold up to 400 times its own weight."

*Everybody* wears special supersecret astronaut diapers!
posted by mediareport at 9:50 PM on February 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


I didn't catch it at first, but the police papers say that she had with her copies of e-mail correspondence between her would-be lover and the woman she attacked.

I don't want to lose sight of the fact that this is, at heart, a story about a diapers-wearing astronaut pepper-spraying someone in an airport parking lot. But I'd be really interested to find out how she got those e-mails.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:53 PM on February 5, 2007 [4 favorites]


bicyclefish: some people forget to log out of their computers, or have really easy to guess passwords. I speak from personal experience.
posted by chlorus at 9:54 PM on February 5, 2007


Nice little package of goods she had with her. I'd've gone with a .22 but BB guns get rid of lights nicely and she's probably low on streetwise so she wouldn't know where to get a pistol. (Plenty of books on how to make silencers tho)
Dunno why she didn't use the mallet to smash the passenger window, maybe she was being watched. Maybe she wanted to take her time. Or maybe she wasn't as ruthless as the thought. Still, someone dedicated enough to go through the space program, do all that she's done, not to mention chucking all that and driving 900 miles/13 odd hours with a diaper on and maintain that focus....not high on my list of people to mess with.
Odd how so many people flip out over the chemicals that give them orgasms. Matter of time before Merck or some such gets them outlawed and comes up with a chemical substitute and we're all as happy as the folks in THX-1138 I s'pose.

Still, you'd think her feedback system would be top notch, wouldn't you? I mean as an Astronaut or anyone in a high-stress, demanding and disciplined field, you'd figure they'd be pretty phlegmatic. At some point in more than half day trip you'd think one of those practical reality level headed stress compensators would shut her down. I mean I've been on the verge of some really edgy stuff and I've had the little voice reality check me.
"I'm gonna kill them all" *loads guns*
uh, smed, what're you doing?
"I'm going to kill all those bastards"
Yeah, uh, don't you have a wife and some kids?
"...yeah...well, it's for them too."
Well, they'll have guns too.
"I'm better, and I'm fucking bulletproof. I won't die."
But what if you get injured and you can't work?
"..."
They'll die eventually won't they? And why is that your job? Your job is your family, isn't it?
"Aww...I guess."
Go have some cookies.

You'd figure her's would be like 100xs that. I mean she's been in freakin space. At some point wouldn't she realize there's more dick in the world than she could reasonably cope with? Especially - she's an astronaut, man. I suppose though the only person who could spin out an astronaut like that would be another astronaut.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:01 PM on February 5, 2007


maryh: and don't forget the sequel to Space Oddity:

Ashes to ashes,
Funk to funky.
Because pilot Bill is spunky,
Nowak's in Orlando,
Hitting an all-time low.

posted by UbuRoivas at 10:04 PM on February 5, 2007 [6 favorites]


Master planned communities always have evil lurking underneath.

There is much truth in what you say.


But evil influence of Houston's suburbs aside, this story is so sad. I feel bad for her kids, who you know are going to get no end of shit at school. I feel bad that one of our public faces of science and space exploration was able to snap this far without anyone intervening. This sort of crazy builds up, it seems that someone on the psych team wasn't paying much attention. It would be sad were it to happen to anyone, but it's tragic when it has to be played out in the public eye.
posted by dejah420 at 10:08 PM on February 5, 2007


maryh - way to one-thousand. that was really funny.

If it can happen to Lios Lane, it can happen to anyone. Maybe it shouldn't come as surprise that someone driven enough to become an astronaut goes crazy in an extra special way.

I dare you to pick a favorite part. Adult diapers come out in this tale's middle - just where do you go from there? You put on a wig and bring half a hardware store on a bus, that's where.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:08 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


My mother said
To get things done
You'd better not drive
With diapers on...


(at this point I've had just too much caffeine...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:15 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I hate to even mention it, but maybe she was under the influence of the dreaded vorvon.
posted by blueberry at 10:15 PM on February 5, 2007


"Dunno why she didn't use the mallet to smash the passenger window, maybe she was being watched. Maybe she wanted to take her time. Or maybe she wasn't as ruthless as the thought."

Or maybe she's batshit and that interfered with her planning abilities.


I remember a couple years back when I was getting harangued by a naval recruiter while in the cafeteria at college, and I told him that I was only joining the Navy if he could guarantee an astronaut spot. Not only am I apparently too tall, but the ship has passed on getting my shit together enough to be on a crew. "We mostly look for doctors doing experiments in microgravity and Annapolis grads as pilots."
"So... a polisci degree and amazing high-altitude spitting probably wouldn't be enough?"

As of today, I'm one spot closer!
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 PM on February 5, 2007


"Or maybe she's batshit and that interfered with her planning abilities."

Consider her overall planning, the disguise, etc. It was thought out. Poorly executed, but she obviously had some sort of plan. Certainly the basic mania in the first place that was driving her to murder could have spun her out, but again, she's used to performing under pressure. It's a rote ability, she's trained. I'd've thought that it would have gone the other way. Sort of a "Hey, wtf...am I really doing this?" thing. The batshit was the impetus. She was drawing on her experiance to pull this off - diapers and whatnot - and she showed up on time and on target. But I mean, the thought process: "Ok, I'm going to kill this woman....I'll need diapers....naw, what am I, nuts?" you'd figure it'd shut her down in the planning stage.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:35 PM on February 5, 2007


I don't know if her ability to work under pressure really translated to her murder plot. It sounds more than anything like she planned all this out but was too incompetent of an assailant to get it done. I haven't read the police papers but from the article it sounds like she attempted to spray her with pepper spray in her car but failed so miserably that the victim was able to continuing driving to get help.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:43 PM on February 5, 2007


If this doesn't prove space madness then Buzz Aldrin punching a freakin guy in the face certainly must!

These Astro-Nuts are obviously ticking timebombs!

We should round them up and send them some place dark and isolated where they can't hurt anyone...

Now where could we send them?
Hmm....
posted by toftflin at 10:48 PM on February 5, 2007


Ok, yeah that's what happened. A properly pepper sprayed person shouldn't be able to drive anywhere.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:51 PM on February 5, 2007


Instead of sending her to prison, though, they should put her in space... forever.

She can then be featured in some future episode of the Surreal Life, where she tries to date Flava Flav. From above.
posted by BLDGBLOG at 10:52 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


but she obviously had some sort of plan.

Yes she did, and I think you can make a pretty good guess at the main features of her plan from that weirdness about the diapers and the 900 mi drive. As someone upthread pointed out, she must have left Houston before the plane took off and timed her arrival in Orlando to meet it. She was counting on being seen in Houston and then getting to Orlando so fast that she would not have been a suspect because no one would have believed she could get there in that time interval. But that means she wasn't worried about being identified by the victim and that means she was planning a murder.
posted by jamjam at 11:02 PM on February 5, 2007


Ooooh! That reminds me of a photo I took at the London Science Museum... of SPACE DIAPERS!!!! And here's the oh, so British explanation that was on the display... included here just because I love it so:

Going to the Toilet!
When we go to the toilet, we depend on the Earth's gravity to keep our wee and poo in the toilet bowl. In space it would float about, because that gravitational force is absent. Space toilets have to suck the muck down!

On the early space flights, astronauts had to wear special apparatus to collect their waste. Faecal material was bagged and returned to Earth for analysis. Urine was vented into space from a "Urine Collection and Transfer Assembly" like that worn by Alan Shepard on Apollo 14 and displayed here.

posted by miss lynnster at 11:13 PM on February 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


BTW, that astronaut she loves? He wasn't bad to look at. I mean, I could totally see his appeal in a hot Major Anthony Nelson kinda way. Hell, I'd wear a diaper & stalk for him. Well... except that I'm already doing that for someone else. But that astronaut is definitely next. Well, unless that married guy that lives next door finally says hello... I mean, he's got a wife & stuff but I swear he wants me. And he's more local than the astronaut guy. Although astronaut was totally worth stalking for. Mmmmm. Tony Nelson.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:24 PM on February 5, 2007


When we go to the toilet, we depend on the Earth's gravity to keep our wee and poo in the toilet bowl.

Not Ayn Rand. She could will wee and poo into the tiolet bowl. To hell with Nanny Gravity!
posted by maryh at 11:28 PM on February 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


I was always a bit smitten by lovable co-astronaut Roger Healy, but not diapers & steel mallet smitten, if you know what I mean. Sidekick smitten... just the discount pepper spray and rubber tubing type...
Who wants cake??
posted by maryh at 11:35 PM on February 5, 2007


This story is great. I mean, not great, terrible. But great.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:36 PM on February 5, 2007


She can then be featured in some future episode of the Surreal Life, where she tries to date Flava Flav. From above.

Reverse Space Cowgirl! Yeeee-haw!

Or maybe not. Could it be... death from above!? *frets*

Sorry. Surreal, human stuff. Her mug shot does have a healthy dose of "Well, shit. Just what did I go and do now? The whole world is going to see this goddamn picture. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck." Which is entirely understandable.

posted by loquacious at 12:00 AM on February 6, 2007


Triple goddamn!

Aren't astronauts supposed to be among the most heavily psych-profiled and psych-monitored people on earth? This is some serious crazy to come out of nowhere. (Or is there a culture at NASA now that says, "we invested so much in training you guys that you can have affairs and be a little nutso, and we can't afford to bench you because of it?")
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:16 AM on February 6, 2007


Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry.

My childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut have now been completely destroyed. Thank you, Yahoo News.


And I'm suddenly overqualified.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:22 AM on February 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


We all laugh at her now, but someday she'll have a movie made about her. Some university will give her a second chance. The dean will get hell because of it. But the students will love her. She'll win their hearts by her imagination and spirit. Then, when she's in her last years, one of those students will write her biography, including the tragic love story. The book will lead to a movie deal. Charlize Theron will play her in the movie. Oh, she will find redemption.
posted by Titania at 12:27 AM on February 6, 2007


You know what keeps hitting me? This woman is an astronaut. When I get over the initial bemusement about that fact, it leads to subfacts. She is far more intelligent and well-educated than I am. She's in far better physical shape than I am. She has more commitment, drive, and composure than I have. She's better at writing a resume, taking a job interview, following orders, and leading others than I am. And she had a job, the job, that we all fantasized about as children. And, apparently, she had a family.

By any measure I can think of, she won at life and I lost. But then I just whipped her in the 4th quarter.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:32 AM on February 6, 2007 [20 favorites]


Look out, roll truck roll. This is the the third.
posted by ryanrs at 2:21 AM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love the headline in the Globe and Mail: "Astronaut Accused Of Flighty Behaviour"
posted by antifuse at 4:15 AM on February 6, 2007


I hope that they sentence her to the Phantom Zone.
posted by TheWash at 4:54 AM on February 6, 2007


See what happens when you let women in space?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:22 AM on February 6, 2007


Y'know, good on Buzz Aldrin for punching that guy. Seriously, he had it coming.
posted by Kattullus at 5:28 AM on February 6, 2007



An asronaut in prison? should make for interesting escape attempts MeFi LOL humor material.


NASA=Need Another Sex Addict.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:30 AM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


who will play them in the movie / mini-series?
posted by racersix6 at 5:34 AM on February 6, 2007


I knew it. She's a frakkin' Cylon!
posted by steef at 6:29 AM on February 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


"When we go to the toilet, we depend on the Earth's gravity to keep our wee and poo in the toilet bowl"

Chuck Norris can shit in zero gravity.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:51 AM on February 6, 2007


I think the key here is that only an astronaut could break through the intense psych training and flip another astronaut.

And I keep wanting to spell it astronaught. For NAUGHTY!

.
posted by cavalier at 6:53 AM on February 6, 2007


Ah, roger, Houston, we have a disengagement problem with Stage Two. Stand by while we confirm that ejection procedure:
ZERO GRAVITY TOILET

PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED TO READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE

1. The toilet is of the standard zero-gravity type. Depending on requirements, System A and/or System B can be used, details of which are clearly marked in the toilet compartment. When operating System A, depress lever and a plastic dalkron eliminator will be dispensed through the slot immediately underneath. When you have fastened the adhesive lip, attach connection marked by the large "X" outlet hose. Twist the silver coloured ring one inch below the connection point until you feel it lock.

2. The toilet is now ready for use. The Sonovac cleanser is activated by the small switch on the lip. When securing, twist the ring back to its initial-condition, so that the two orange line meet. Disconnect. Place the dalkron eliminator in the vacuum receptacle to the rear. Activate by pressing the blue button.

3. The controls for System B are located on the opposite wall. The red release switch places the uroliminator into position; it can be adjusted manually up or down by pressing the blue manual release button. The opening is self adjusting. To secure after use, press the green button which simultaneously activates the evaporator and returns the uroliminator to its storage position.

4. You may leave the lavatory if the green exit light is on over the door. If the red light is illuminated, one of the lavatory facilities is not properly secured. Press the "Stewardess" call button on the right of the door. She will secure all facilities from her control panel outside. When green exit light goes on you may open the door and leave. Please close the door behind you.

5. To use the Sonoshower, first undress and place all your clothes in the clothes rack. Put on the velcro slippers located in the cabinet immediately below. Enter the shower. On the control panel to your upper right upon entering you will see a "Shower seal" button. Press to activate. A green light will then be illuminated immediately below. On the intensity knob select the desired setting. Now depress the Sonovac activation lever. Bathe normally.

6. The Sonovac will automatically go off after three minutes unless you activate the "Manual off" over-ride switch by flipping it up. When you are ready to leave, press the blue "Shower seal" release button. The door will open and you may leave. Please remove the velcro slippers and place them in their container.

7. If the red light above this panel is on, the toilet is in use. When the green light is illuminated you may enter. However, you must carefully follow all instructions when using the facilities during coasting (Zero G) flight. Inside there are three facilities: (1) the Sonowasher, (2) the Sonoshower, (3) the toilet. All three are designed to be used under weightless conditions. Please observe the sequence of operations for each individual facility.

8. Two modes for Sonowashing your face and hands are available, the "moist-towel" mode and the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaner mode. You may select either mode by moving the appropriate lever to the "Activate" position.

If you choose the "moist-towel" mode, depress the indicated yellow button and withdraw item. When you have finished, discard the towel in the vacuum dispenser, holding the indicated lever in the "active" position until the green light goes on...showing that the rollers have passed the towel completely into the dispenser. If you desire an additional towel, press the yellow button and repeat the cycle.

9. If you prefer the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaning mode, press the indicated blue button. When the twin panels open, pull forward by rings A & B. For cleaning the hands, use in this position. Set the timer to positions 10, 20, 30 or 40...indicative of the number of seconds required. The knob to the left, just below the blue light, has three settings, low, medium or high. For normal use, the medium setting is suggested.

10. After these settings have been made, you can activate the device by switching to the "ON" position the clearly marked red switch. If during the washing operation, you wish to change the settings, place the "manual off" over-ride switch in the "OFF" position. you may now make the change and repeat the cycle.
All we're seeing are red lights here. We don't think we can hold things together much longer, Houston. Advise, please.

Houston?

posted by cenoxo at 7:23 AM on February 6, 2007


Damn. She ruined her career and made a complete ass of herself over some guy.

Definition of love:

That which makes very smart people do very stupid things.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:24 AM on February 6, 2007


That story wouldn't be nearly as interesting without the mention of diapers.
posted by clevershark at 7:24 AM on February 6, 2007


Anyone made a Right Stuff joke yet? If not, count me in.
posted by hatchetjack at 7:32 AM on February 6, 2007


Don't astronauts have to go through extensive psychological testing and whatnot?

They might want to switch ink blots or something, 'cause the test may be a little off.
posted by veggieboy at 7:58 AM on February 6, 2007


From the wikipedia article:
Her hobbies include reading, piano, gardening, crossword puzzles, and planning elaborate assaults.

I mean, I'm all for a free encyclopedia, but that doesn't sound very nice...
posted by Vindaloo at 8:02 AM on February 6, 2007


Eh, she needed bigger engines for more thrust.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 AM on February 6, 2007


Titania:
How is Charlize Theron going to play her in the movie if it's made after this woman is old and gray? Is it going to be virtual Charlize Theron? iCharlize? Your story is just too full of holes!
posted by papakwanz at 8:07 AM on February 6, 2007


Wow, astronauts are people, too. Whoda thunk it?
posted by Captaintripps at 8:13 AM on February 6, 2007


Judge gave her bail this morning, and she's allowed to go home to Houston albeit with a tracking device. :( updated wire.
posted by cavalier at 8:25 AM on February 6, 2007


Who can blame her? It's all about the hair.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 8:36 AM on February 6, 2007


I wonder if the comic Astronauts in Trouble will work this into their promotion?
posted by drezdn at 8:40 AM on February 6, 2007


This is the saddest story involving the U.S. Space Program ever.

Oh... right. .....That.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:42 AM on February 6, 2007


Did anyone else hear, that NASA made her "ungoogle-able?" How does one go about making one, "un-google-able?" I can find all kinds of photos of the Nowak and Cmdr. William Oefelein, but nothing on the victim. Can any of you MEFI's produce a photo of Colleen Shipman? They even removed her bio from the nasa.gov page.
posted by winks007 at 8:57 AM on February 6, 2007


dhartung: "Ten years ago, a crack commando astronaut unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit."

Second A-Team reference in as many days. AWESOME.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:01 AM on February 6, 2007


winks, the article doesn't say anything about Shipman being an Astronaut, just USAF.
posted by chimaera at 9:21 AM on February 6, 2007


All those who have transgressed the ordained boundaries of nature and sullied the purity of space shall being their great transformation into something new, something alien...something terrible. The signs abound. A great vengeance is at hand. And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches now toward Bethlehem to be born?
posted by Midnight Creeper at 9:25 AM on February 6, 2007


Metafilter: worth wearing diapers for.

Mmmmm... Tony Nelson...
posted by miss lynnster at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2007


Props to Sunita. Guess she chose the wrong day to set a record for womankind.
posted by hal9k at 9:36 AM on February 6, 2007


UnhingedAstronautFilter: "Astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak to face new charge of attempted first-degree murder, jail spokesman in Orlando says."
posted by miss lynnster at 10:02 AM on February 6, 2007


Link above has a video of her in the courtroom...
posted by miss lynnster at 10:07 AM on February 6, 2007


chimaera, that makes me wonder why NASA would have made her ungoogleable. I heard this from a friend of a friend @ NASA. I may be waaaay off the track here, but I've never been in trouble for asking. So...was she NOT an astro-naught? Still the whole "making something un-google-able" aspect makes my red-blood curdle with distrust.
posted by winks007 at 10:13 AM on February 6, 2007


also... the article lists the rank/title of all three persons of invloved. His says Navy Cmdr. I don't think that excludes her from being an astro-naught. Jussayin.
posted by winks007 at 10:17 AM on February 6, 2007


I don't see how they could've made her ungoogleable, and why NASA would even bother, considering that Shipman isn't an astronaut. Chances are there are more than enough "Colleen Shipman"s in the world that one specific person in the USAF isn't too easy to find.

Just because Shipman, who by all accounts is just some USAF officer and has nothing like the visibility of an astronaut, may have a fairly low internet profile doesn't mean there's a conspiracy afoot.
posted by chimaera at 10:18 AM on February 6, 2007


I guess it's "out the airlock" for her.
posted by bondcliff at 10:19 AM on February 6, 2007


"Perplexed is the word I'm sticking with."
posted by ob at 10:28 AM on February 6, 2007


You know...it's not very polite to dismantle a sane persons conspiracy theory.
posted by winks007 at 10:57 AM on February 6, 2007



From Wiki:

Colleen Shipman
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

[edit] Colleen Shipman
A thirty year old NASA astronaut caught in a love triangle and apparently assaulted by a fellow astronaut Lisa Nowak. Lisa Nowak is also being considered for charges of attempted murder of Colleen Shipman. Colleen was in her vehicle and was stalked by Nowak, then sprayed with pepper spray as she rolled down her window to address the figure in a wig and trenchcoat that ended up to be Nowak.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colleen_Shipman"
posted by winks007 at 11:00 AM on February 6, 2007


Those charges are a little harsh for a kidnapping attempt that never even got off the ground. Isn't there a blanket "1st degree going apeshit" charge that would cover this?

I mean, she might have kidnapped her rival successfully, but murder? Soldiers in the army who have been trained for months to kill still sometimes have trouble not shooting over the heads of the enemy on their first encounter. Are we to assume that murder was this woman's heartfelt intent?
posted by tehloki at 11:06 AM on February 6, 2007


That wikipedia article didn't exist 15 minutes ago, winks. I think it's well established that wikipedia isn't reliable when it can be edited by anyone with poor information, especially during breaking events.

Besides, now it says
"Colleen Shipman is a thirty year old USAF engineer caught in a love triangle and apparently assaulted by astronaut Lisa Nowak. Lisa Nowak is also being considered for charges of attempted murder of Colleen Shipman. Colleen was in her vehicle and was stalked by Nowak, then sprayed with pepper spray as she rolled down her window to address the figure in a wig and trenchcoat that ended up to be Nowak.

Shipman is an engineer with a launch support squadron at Patrick Air Force Base near the Kennedy Space Center. She is a 2002 graduate of Penn State University."
Again, wikipedia isn't good for breaking news when any random user can drop rumor and innuendo into a page and give lots of people the wrong idea. Shipman is no astronaut, and she has not been rendered "ungoogleable" by Big Bad NASA.
posted by chimaera at 11:09 AM on February 6, 2007


Depends-worthy -- it's the new spongeworthy.
posted by mozhet at 11:10 AM on February 6, 2007


They even removed her bio from the nasa.gov page.

She is not a fucking astronaut.

She may have been fucking an astronaut, but that doesn't generally get you a NASA bio.
posted by dhartung at 11:10 AM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I mean, she might have kidnapped her rival successfully, but murder? Soldiers in the army who have been trained for months to kill still sometimes have trouble not shooting over the heads of the enemy on their first encounter. Are we to assume that murder was this woman's heartfelt intent?"

Plenty of civilians manage to kill on the first try, and those with mental illness probably find it easier.

"She may have been fucking an astronaut, but that doesn't generally get you a NASA bio."

Dash all my dreams, why don't you?
posted by klangklangston at 11:13 AM on February 6, 2007


The equipment that she had with her -- knife, tubing, garbage bags, hammer -- I'd say it's plausible that she was planning a murder.
posted by chimaera at 11:17 AM on February 6, 2007


Two more things. #1 I’m wondering what she was listening to on the radio. Was it like the theme from “Smokey and the Bandit” (southbound and down! Roll it up and truck it. We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done! We got a long way to go and a short time to get there....etc) or was it talk radio? ‘Cos if it was some talk radio a lot of people listen to the partisan channels and I’m wondering if someone expressed a wacky opinion to be provocative and she’s thinking “That (Limbaugh/Franken/whomever) what a whack job.” ‘Cause you’d figure that’d wake her up. Unless it was just dead silence the whole way through and a lot of Gollum-like muttering. That’s too sad to think about.
....Although it was probably all ‘mission focused’ weather and traffic reports.
#2 I realize now I don’t make the big money as a t.v. news reporter because I’m unable to feign shock that they charged her with murder. How out of touch do you have to be? It’s obvious that was what she was planning. Indeed, I’m astonished no one’s brought up the “Sin City” reference (rubber tubing/hunting blade/etc.). Any of these folks get out much? And I think roll truck roll made my point better than I did. She has no conception of how together she was...or seemed to be anyway.

...perhaps Shipman was going to leak THE TRUTH about the faked moon landing.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:21 AM on February 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Dhartung, my apologies, That was from another trusted source and I neglected to double-check to learn IF she ever WAS an astro-naught. Man for a minute there, it really did seem like a conspiracy. Oh well, I'm sure there is a conspiracy out there somewhere. Thanks
posted by winks007 at 11:28 AM on February 6, 2007


I like "1st degree going apeshit." I'm going to ask to be charged with that if I ever pull something like this.

Then again, I'm not hot for an astronaut, so I doubt it will.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:39 AM on February 6, 2007


Wonkette commenters are having fun with this, such as: "Astronut Nowak finally flipped out when she discovered the other two of the "trois" attempting re-entry in spite of her repeated calls for them to pull out."
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:44 AM on February 6, 2007


Also - intent is not a component of a murder trial. You don’t have to prove intent. Certainly it’s a componant however, and that’s my point about her mindset - she’s irrational, but her planning was coherent.
In a homicide prosecution where you have circumstantial evidence to establish premediation and deliberation, if you don’t have planning, motive and manner of killing you need strong evidence of planning or motive with planning or deliberate manner of killing. I think she’s hit the trifecta here, but even if we take motive out of the picture, you’ve got very strong planning with the disguise and the tools, you’ve most certainly got premeditaiton and deliberation (driving 13 hours) and you’ve got not only the manner of killing but disposal methods to mitigate blood loss as well as wrap the body or body parts.

Maybe if she hadn’t gone thru with pepper spraying Shipman she could reasonably argue that she decided not to go through with it (after driving 900 miles) but she had already committed the assault and (as has been pointed out above) she had the tools to do more.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:48 AM on February 6, 2007


Aww crap, I've met her. She lives nearby. This will be all everyone in my area is going to talk about now.

First you have Andrea Yates drowning her kids, then Clara Harris running down her husband with his daughter in the car and now this. I'm telling you, there is something wrong with the women in Clear Lake.
posted by DragonBoy at 12:22 AM EST on February 6


Jebus, who planned your planned community? MK-ULTRA? Is the city council all Process Church members? Does the mayor call himself Manson III? Will her cellmate be David Berkowitz?
posted by NoMich at 11:51 AM on February 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well, that's a Navy O-6 I’m not sure I’d care to meet, although under certain circumstances it sounds like she could be a fun date.
posted by pax digita at 11:58 AM on February 6, 2007


Note to self: never move to Clear Lake...
posted by miss lynnster at 12:05 PM on February 6, 2007


NoMich, if I could favorite your comment and Dragonboy's 10 times, I would.
posted by jamjam at 12:09 PM on February 6, 2007


So, I take it no one has been able to find a picture of the vic. (I watch waaaay too much CSI).
posted by winks007 at 12:22 PM on February 6, 2007


The Fark and Wonkette crowds are a step ahead on the picture. Link from the Wonkette thread, second from the right.
posted by chimaera at 12:25 PM on February 6, 2007


Man, Nowak was way hotter than Shipman. She shouldnt've worried.
(Anyone know the rules on double contractions and apostrophe use? I don't have my style guide handy).
posted by klangklangston at 12:30 PM on February 6, 2007


Pity about whacked out, wacky Lisa Nowak, she's one of the very few women to travel into space (YouTube video with her being introduced at the 1 minute mark). This is the second serious stalking case I've heard about within NASA.

I second Kattullus' speculated diagnosis of erotomania and add BPD traits, the Fatal Attraction style rage. Cooking the pet rabbit scary. Good thing her intended victim, Colleen Shipman, got away alive.

Maybe she caught a virus from HAL? Another space case stalker.
posted by nickyskye at 12:50 PM on February 6, 2007


Yeesh this thread sure derailed with the whole Shipman conspiracy thing. Regarding that PSU picture, doesn't that Shipman look about 20 years too young to be in this situation? Can we just for a second imagine there is more than one 'Colleen Shipman' on the intraweb?
posted by cavalier at 12:56 PM on February 6, 2007


Ya think that people who make it into the astronaut corps are driven and single-minded?
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:13 PM on February 6, 2007


cavalier, I'm with you, the Colleen Shipmen that Wonkette is showing is the same girl who Graduated from ROTC in Pa. in 2002. That was like the 15th site on Google search. That Shipmen I could find easily. There has to be more to this....where are all the BATSHITINSANE mefi's today?
posted by winks007 at 1:19 PM on February 6, 2007


bob sarabia writes "Does stopping to use the bathroom really take an exorbitant amount of time that you feel the need to shave off those minutes by wear diapers? "

Truckers often think so.

Smedleyman writes "At some point in more than half day trip you'd think one of those practical reality level headed stress compensators would shut her down."

Which crazy mathematician said that he had to believe the voices in his head because they came from the same place as his math brilliance?
posted by Mitheral at 1:26 PM on February 6, 2007


cavalier, if you click through on her name, you get her personal page where she says she was "commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the Air Force & work as a Project Engineer".

That wikipedia article didn't exist 15 minutes ago

Yep, and it doesn't exist at all anymore. Really, it's a huge invasion of privacy for an article like that to even be.
posted by dhartung at 1:29 PM on February 6, 2007


If she'd only known. . .
posted by Danf at 1:30 PM on February 6, 2007


OOOOOH! But the conspiracy LIIIVVVVEEEEESSSSS! Her wikipedia thread is now suspiciously absent!

This page has been deleted, and protected to prevent re-creation.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:38 PM on February 6, 2007


Danf, you just reminded me of David Sedaris' experience with the Stadium Pal... which makes me laugh just thinking about it.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:40 PM on February 6, 2007


miss lynnster, Wikipedia articles are not threads. They are not structured as discussions. (At least you didn't call it "WIKI"...)

A former NASA psychologist comments. He blames an astronaut "celebrity culture" fostered by the agency.
posted by dhartung at 1:44 PM on February 6, 2007


The front page of CNN now has photographs of all three of the key players here. No diaper, though.
posted by Justinian at 3:12 PM on February 6, 2007


What is the deal with the "astro-naught"?
posted by smackfu at 3:14 PM on February 6, 2007


Trench coat, wig, Tang, and a diaper...

I smell a Halloween costume.
posted by NortonDC at 3:18 PM on February 6, 2007


Tang.

Discuss.
posted by Dizzy at 3:30 PM on February 6, 2007


My halloween costume smells like cat food pee.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:39 PM on February 6, 2007


In one news report a NASA psychiatrist said he had to believe there was some triggering factor (my words, not his). He speculated whether she might have a brain tumor, etc.

I've alternated between wanting to laugh at this story and finding it rather disquieting.

I sense that undercurrent of slight fear in many comments here - if someone like her could go over the edge, what chance do the rest of us have?

But my very first thought upon seeing this story today - I was bummed that this is the most attention the MSM have given to the space program since the last shuttle disaster.
posted by NorthernLite at 4:06 PM on February 6, 2007


“Do you imagine that because they are astronauts, they are somehow immune to heated emotions, poor judgement, and stupid behavior?”

No, but with someone in charge of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment I like to think so.

So they have the doctor’s ‘God’ complex then?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:12 PM on February 6, 2007


No, but with someone in charge of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment I like to think so.

She didn't fuck up hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:23 PM on February 6, 2007


This thread's a little depressing. I sometimes wonder if the reality TV freakshows -- stagemanaged failure-dramas that encourage us to point and laugh at the deficiencies and vagaries of others, and inure us to the idea that the conditioned unreasonably-high aspirations of people and the trainwrecks of their inevitable inability to achieve them should be entertaining and risible --have made us meaner and less inclined to empathy.

Then I realize: nah, people have always been this way.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:37 PM on February 6, 2007


Tang.

Discuss.


I ran across a thing of it in a Mediterranean market last month, complete with half of the label in Arabic. So I bought it.

I tried it for the first time in two-decades-plus one night when I was fiending for something sweet. Not OJ, but not so bad. Then I remembered this Orange Julius-ish concoction that we used to make when I was a wee tyke using Tang, milk, water, some vanilla extract and some ice cubes whipped to high hell in a blender. So then I thought, I need to try that again some day soon.

And put some vodka in it.
posted by Cyrano at 4:38 PM on February 6, 2007


Damn! One of those Wonkettites beat me to it: Astronut Nowak finally flipped out...
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:56 PM on February 6, 2007


Something is up here, I haven't quite put my finger on it though. It appears that my comments are rubbing some cranky fucker the WRONG way. You got something to say...say it.
posted by winks007 at 5:08 PM on February 6, 2007


Well la deee daaaaa. Tired from working ten hour days, I used incorrect terminology. Just pepper spray me & beat me with a mallet why dontcha.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:41 PM on February 6, 2007


mslynnster, I thought that was cute.
posted by winks007 at 6:04 PM on February 6, 2007


So the rubber tubing was for . . . what? To tie off wounds? To put up her nose in the manner of Welcome Back, Kotter?

I can't imagine what her kids are going through right now. Yeesh.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:52 PM on February 6, 2007


Anybody else getting heavy PIIIIIIIGZ IIIN SPAAAAACE vibes here?
posted by telstar at 7:56 PM on February 6, 2007


NASA sez: "We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. The charges against Lisa Nowak are serious ones that must be decided by the judicial system. She is officially on 30-day leave and has been removed from flight status and all mission-related activities. We will continue to monitor developments in the case."
posted by NortonDC at 8:05 PM on February 6, 2007


In one news report a NASA psychiatrist said he had to believe there was some triggering factor (my words, not his). He speculated whether she might have a brain tumor, etc.

I've been thinking along those lines, myself. NASA surely knows what her baseline psychological state is like. Has she ever previously shown signs of mania? Has she ever required psychological medication? Presumably she was signed off as flight-ready, but what happened since then? Has her marriage been stable or troubled? Did her weeks/months of preparation for the flight mean an effective separation that doomed that relationship?

Brain tumors can lead to erratic behavior, but not necessarily mania. But I'm wondering whether there could have been something physical associated with the flight or the training such as a hypoxic event. If she was cracking up before the flight, you'd think they would have caught it.
posted by dhartung at 9:11 PM on February 6, 2007


Astronaut Killer Theme Song (YouTube)
posted by mosessmith at 9:34 PM on February 6, 2007


But I'm wondering whether there could have been something physical associated with the flight...

like this?
posted by b1tr0t at 9:42 PM on February 6, 2007


Has her marriage been stable or troubled?

"...she and her husband had separated a few weeks ago" sez her sister.

And this little nugget is also in that article: "NASA officials tell us that while in the space program, astronauts don't have to undergo psychological evaluations, although they do go through several medical evaluations."
posted by NortonDC at 5:13 AM on February 7, 2007


So...the victim WAS an astronaut after all? I thought so.
posted by winks007 at 7:32 AM on February 7, 2007


Says who, winks007?
posted by NortonDC at 7:39 AM on February 7, 2007


NortonDC, I heard it somewhere and can't get a cofirmation. Then on a news show this am they made several references to the 2 female astronauts. I couldn't get anyone here to confirm. It you look up a bit you can see where others have indicated that they think not. I'm sticking to my guns on this one. The reason this is so important is a friend of a friend who works for NASA, said that they made the victim "un-goolge-able. I was more upset with the fact that a power such as NASA(or anyone for that matter) can make anything/anyone ungoogleable. BTW, I'm not a conspriacy theorist. I'm just a real big fan of the perceived freedom that we try to enjoy. Do you have any hard evidence to the contrary?
posted by winks007 at 7:46 AM on February 7, 2007


Says you, then.

Search on the entire contents of the next line:
"colleen shipman" penn

The second result is her own handiwork. You might have to select the text to see it due to poor page design, or read the page source.
posted by NortonDC at 8:06 AM on February 7, 2007


What a story. If I may add to the totally baseless medical speculation in the thread, I would want her thyroid function tested. Unchecked hyperthyroidism is well-known to cause bizarre and sometimes criminal behavior in people. Any good criminal defense attorney knows about it: a guy I went to high school with burned down his family business and was defended by a friend of mine, who was able to get him off pretty lightly after it was determined that he was in fact a normal guy when healthy.
posted by TedW at 8:33 AM on February 7, 2007


"NASA officials tell us that while in the space program, astronauts don't have to undergo psychological evaluations, although they do go through several medical evaluations."
posted by NortonDC


Wow.. I wonder if this is a newer policy? I have to imagine that the early astronauts were evaluated more completely.
posted by dcjd at 8:34 AM on February 7, 2007


I think you're just going to make yourself look foolish here by sticking to your guns, winks.

Shipman is not an astronaut. There is no conspiracy. NASA has not made her ungoogleable. Your obsession about this detail is frankly making you look like you need a tinfoil hat.
posted by chimaera at 8:59 AM on February 7, 2007


I presume they get a psych eval before being allowed in, but they don't do periodic revals.
posted by smackfu at 9:00 AM on February 7, 2007


Shipman works at Patrick Air Force Base near Kennedy Space Center...Shipman, a 30-year-old engineer assigned to the 45th Launch Support Squadron, could be reached for comment Tuesday.

From this Houston Chronicle story, for those debating the other woman's job. On hearing the initial news reports I got the impression all 3 were astronauts, but apparently not.
posted by TedW at 9:34 AM on February 7, 2007


The reason this is so important is a friend of a friend who works for NASA, said that they made the victim "un-goolge-able.

Oh, so they took her off of Astronautix too (see also)? What's your FOAF's explanation for that? It's not like who's an astronaut is some big secret that only comes out when they fly.

I have to imagine that the early astronauts were evaluated more completely.

In fact, they were. I forgot what came out in Dragonfly, about the differences between Russian and American approaches, during the Shuttle-Mir program.

Human behavior cannot be measured by a slide rule, which is just one reason the pilots and engineers who run NASA have long distrusted anything that smacks of psychology. As far as most astronauts are concerned, the only person more loathsome than a flight surgeon is a psychologist, for the simple reason that the last thing an astronaut wants is to be disqualified for flight by some couchbound know-nothing guessing that he might not perform well in space. [Once, in the early Shuttle program,] former Skylab astronaut Joe Kerwin [said in a meeting], "Son, you gotta understand, the crews won't be happy until the last psychologist has been strangled on the entrails of the last flight surgeon."

It had always been this way, although during the 1960s a series of psychologists within the agnecy had persevered against this bias and compiled reams of data about astronaut performance, moods, and efficiency during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. Their findings, however, were always closely guarded. When JSC in 1984 hired its first full-time staff psychologist, a flight surgeon named Patricia Santy, she was amazed to find that all of the historical data had somehow vanished. "I discovered that all the work of my predecessors had vanished into a black hole," [she later wrote]. "No records existed at NASA about their work. There was no record of psychological selection on the medical charts of astronauts. There were no archives that housed all the data collected; there was, in truth, a complete absence of behavioral sciences in any recognizable form in every part of the Space Program from selection and training to flight. When I questioned why this was so, I was accused of wanting to 'destroy' the agency and described as 'dangerous'."

By the mid-80s, in fact ... the only role for psychologists in the manned space program was in the biannual selection of astronauts, when an outside consultant or two was called in to make sure none of the applicants were psychotic. Beyond on outright case of psychosis, however, the psychologists had very little input into the selection process. Their focus was purely on ... who was mentally unfit to be an astronaut ... never who was best fit to fly.
-- Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard Mir, Bryan Burrough

The attitude during most of the Shuttle program was "Why do we need you? Anybody can get along for two weeks." Testing took on more importance with the prospect of long-term spaceflight through Shuttle-Mir and now ISS. But especially Mir was considered a hardship duty for NASA, who had few volunteers who wanted to interrupt their careers to spend years learning Russian and living in Russia. NASA did not want to disqualify any of its volunteers for anything short of life-threatening emergency. While on Mir, there were weekly written questionnaires, but these were only evaluated en masse by outside researchers.
posted by dhartung at 11:02 AM on February 7, 2007


o.k., so I am wrong. Ain't the first time and rest assured, it won't be my last time. It sure smelled like a conspiracy. Thanks guys.
posted by winks007 at 11:15 AM on February 7, 2007


“She didn't fuck up hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment.” - posted by Brandon Blatcher

Uh...yeah. I mean, gee, she didn’t actually kill anyone either, yet she’s being charged with the rough equivalent (in penalty) of murder.
But dig: astronauts go through huge batteries of psych exams and such. Because it’s such a precision job involving very expensive equipment and you’re responsible for people’s lives. Kinda hard to believe that those tests didn’t pick up on any of this. Nothing’s perfect of course, but you’re under constant scrutiny because of the critical nature of the work. Hence the phrase “millions of dollars of equipment” alluding to that high level of oversight and psychological examination commensurate with the great deal of responsibility any given active astronaut has. Not a misunderstanding on my part of any sort of literal sabotage or some such I’m asserting she did or would have engaged in. I can see where certain kinds of sexual pressures might go unnoticed in those tests, but one would think they’d look for any kind of (potentially) mission compromising interpersonal stuff.
So in essence - it’s not HER - it’s the failure of the massive support systems around her that surprises me. Teamwork and group integration are crucial. It’s not like some entry and yearly psych exam for a cop or something.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:38 PM on February 7, 2007


Although maybe not so much. Which, actually, surprises me more considering how far up my ass my superiors were. Buddy of mine had to go through regular screening when he was working in a sensitive field (asked me all sorta questions on a regular basis “Is he still your friend? Are you SURE?”) This though - one shot and they’re fine the rest of their lives? Cops we gotta watch. Astronauts? nah. Air of inevitability to this then.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:53 PM on February 7, 2007


Cops we gotta watch. Astronauts? nah.

To be fair, if an astronaut roughs up a bunch of aliens crusing around in LEO, is anyone really going to care?
posted by b1tr0t at 1:40 PM on February 7, 2007


Uh...yeah. I mean, gee, she didn’t actually kill anyone either, yet she’s being charged with the rough equivalent (in penalty) of murder.

To clarify: She didn't screw up her mission.

Later on she had a meltdown and screwed up many things, but previously her work seemed fine enough to get on the shuttle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:56 PM on February 7, 2007


“She didn't screw up her mission.”

Fair enough. That’d still seem to reveal the flaws in personnel oversight. I’d’ve thought the days of the stereotypical ‘alcoholic pilot’ were over, where no matter what you did in your personal life as long as it didn’t affect work it didn’t matter. High stress/high performance job, you’d figure they’d take care of them. Although maybe it’s like the Pinto where the cost of taking care of the problem outweighs the potentially disastrous effects (from the NASA perspective). But these are very highly specialized individuals, more than cops, FBI agents, CIA agents, special operators, hell even neurosurgeons. It’s not like there’s a vast pool of talent out there. There’s about 3,000 neurosurgeons in the U.S. - only about what, 400 people have been in space?

“if an astronaut roughs up a bunch of aliens crusing around in LEO..”

That’d be great. Slap ‘em around a bit like the dead end kids, y’know, where you’re just doing painful, humilitating things not any real damage like slapping the back of their heads and ear pulls and twisting their noses and pinching them and tripping them and booting them in the ass:
“Yeah, get you’re own planet, see? We don’t want you ‘round here. Gwan, go home ya punk.”
posted by Smedleyman at 4:54 PM on February 7, 2007


Photo of U.S. Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman (in uniform) on the second page of the Court TV Crime Library news article, Astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak Charged With Attempted Murder, February 7, 2007.

All previous snarkiness aside, this is a tragic event for Lisa Nowak. Her military (and probably any professional civilian) career is over, she will spend tens of thousand$ in court defending herself, and she — not to mention her children, parents, and other family members — will be very fortunate if she avoids a felony conviction and jail. I hope justice is truly served for all involved.
posted by cenoxo at 6:19 PM on February 7, 2007


This seems as good a place as any to spread this little witticism:

"Nuttier than squirrelshit."
posted by five fresh fish at 7:51 PM on February 7, 2007


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK-30442RII
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:03 AM on February 9, 2007


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