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Former Astronaut Lisa Nowak Dismissed from Navy

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By Amanda Winkler, Christian Post Reporter
July 30, 2011|6:23 pm

Capt. Lisa Nowak, a former astronaut, is being expelled from the Navy, according to an official announcement Thursday.

Nowak will be discharged under the title of “less than honorable” and her pay will be decreased by one rank, according to The Associated Press.

The Navy cites that Nowak’s conduct “fell well short” of expectations and that she “demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member."

The lower pay grade will affect Nowak’s retirement and veterans benefits, according to the AP; she had been in the Navy for 20 years.

Nowak’s legal woes stem from a 2007 incident in which she allegedly drove from Houston to Orlando International Airport in February to confront Colleen Shipman, an alleged girlfriend of Nowak’s love interest, former space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein.

Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this case was that Nowak allegedly wore NASA diapers during her drive from Houston to Orlando in order to cut down on the number of bathroom stops. Nowak denies she wore them.

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Nowak is accused of pepper spraying the woman while she was in her car. The former astronaut also claims she had only gone to the airport to talk to Shipman.

In 2009, Nowak pleaded guilty to burglary charges and was sentenced to a year of probation.

Since her leave from NASA, she had been working at the Chief of Naval Air Training station in Corpus Christi, Texas.

"Our goal is to make the right decision," said Lt. Alana Garas, a Navy spokeswoman to AP. "There was a lot of material associated with this case ... and the material was fully reviewed ... and that takes time."

According to CNN, Shipman said the Nowak "stealthily followed (her) for hours." That night, Nowak followed Shipman as she sprinted to her car. Shipman said that Nowak tried to open the car door and beat on its window. When Nowak, wearing a disguise, pleaded with Shipman that she was just a lost traveler, Shipman rolled down her window. That is when Nowak allegedly pepper sprayed her.

The former astronaut’s retirement from the Navy will be implemented September 1st.

 

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