Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
NASA Space News

NASA Fires Astronaut 323

Posted by samzenpus
from the were-the-diapers-too-much dept.
davidwr writes "In an unprecedented move for an unprecedented situation, NASA has fired now-former astronaut Lisa Nowack. She is facing charges of attempted kidnapping related to an incident earlier this year. Ms. Nowack is a Navy officer and remains so."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NASA Fires Astronaut

Comments Filter:
  • by Normal Dan (1053064) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @07:52PM (#18269462)
    listening to her side of the story?
    • by Brett Buck (811747) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @07:56PM (#18269542)
      Yes, I agree. I would certainly like to know the perfectly rational reason for driving 900 miles in diapers, and then tracking down and pepper-spraying someone you have never met, in an airport parking lot.

              Brett
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Normal Dan (1053064)
        That "someone" put her through a lot of needless emotional pain. Perhpas that "someone" will now think twice before so carelessly hurting others, thus making this world a better place for all. Some might even say Lisa is a hero among heros.

        As for the diapers. Well, that is so you can drive non stop. Duh.

        See? It is all perfectly rational.
      • by natet (158905) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:39PM (#18271360)

        Yes, I agree. I would certainly like to know the perfectly rational reason for driving 900 miles in diapers, and then tracking down and pepper-spraying someone you have never met, in an airport parking lot.

        Too much has been made of the diaper thing. To us non-astronaut types, wearing the diapers is kind of crazy, but it is a trick astronauts use when they go on space walks and such when needing to use the bathroom is inconvenient if not impossible. That part isn't crazy IMHO. The rest of it? Yah, totally wacko. I was under the impression she knew the other person though. I could have been misinformed though.

        • Re:Has anyone tried (Score:5, Informative)

          by mclearn (86140) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @01:48AM (#18272808) Homepage
          Hell, most female paragliders wear diapers when performing long cross-country flights especially in competitive or hostile environments when landing for bathroom breaks is not an option. Most guys tend to perform "high altitude irrigation" -- it's easier to perform when you can angle the flow.
    • by susano_otter (123650) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @07:57PM (#18269566) Homepage
      I'm sure many people have... including the mental health professionals responsible for certifying that the astronauts are maintaining the presence of mind and emotional stability necessary to perform what is a very demanding, stressful, and risky job.

      I'd imagine that it takes very little in the way of strange behavior to disqualify a person for astronaut duty, regardless of what their explanation is. Even if her behavior was totally justified and not in any way her fault, the fact that she ended up behaving this way probably means she's not good astronaut material anymore. Astronauts should generally not respond to environmental or emotional stress by flipping out and committing crimes.
    • I'd love to see her explain it all on "Larry King Live."
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MightyMartian (840721)
        I'm sure she can become a professional pundit:

        "You know, Larry, before I went completely blitzo, drove 900 miles in diapers to kill my would-be boyfriend's love interest, I too believed that Mormons didn't buy nearly enough Elton John records."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Oefelein told investigators he and Nowak both served on the bicycling team at NASA and had been involved in a sexual relationship for some time. He said he met Shipman in November 2006 while he was involved in pre-launch training at Kennedy Space Center. In January 2007, Oefelein said, he told Nowak he wanted to date Shipman "exclusively."

      Even if Oefelein handled things poorly or strung her along a bit (I'm not asserting that he did this)her reaction still made her unfit to be an astronaut. She reacts unp
      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:06PM (#18270368)
        What about him? If what you quote is true, then he didn't just handle things poorly, he handled things unprofessionally. He gets involved with a married woman at work at then ditches her for another woman he meets at work? It is almost always a bad idea to get involved with people you need to have a working relationship with... to say nothing of people you might have to work with 100 miles above the earth.

        His career is probably shot at this point. They won't fire him- it would draw yet more unwanted attention to NASA, and he might make false accusations (or worse, true ones) about NASA's own failures (for instance, that NASA turned a blind eye to this kind of behavior). But NASA might issue a strong reprimand, and make it clear that they would do everything in their power to make his transition to a non-NASA career as quick and painless as possible. I doubt he will ever fly again- there would be too much negative publicity. If they ever put him on a shuttle, the mission would get more publicity from rude jokes by Leno and Letterman than any of the actual science would.

        • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:04PM (#18271032)

          What about him?

          I think he is done too. This will bring all the attention of NASA evaluators on him. Not to mention that them both being Navy officers renders their activities in direct violation of all the various rules of professional conduct which officers must adhere to. I am quite certain that adultery is frowned upon in those.

          So I would expect his/her court martials and/or dishonorable discharges to be just around the corner. It just so happens that her truly outre ways are hogging all the news at the moment. His moment in the spotlight is coming.

    • I haven't personally listened to her side of the story, but I intend to just as soon as get the run down from the bum who hangs around my office building raving about aliens and mind control and such. As soon as I get that straight, I'm sure to want to hear about the benefits of driving in diapers.

      Hey, doesn't the US have minimum sanity standards for officers in the armed services?

      • by sehlat (180760) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @08:19PM (#18269860)
        Minimum sanity standards for officers? Good Lord, man, why not minimum sanity standards for the Commander in Chief?

        Oh, wait...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905)
          That's not really relevant - it's supposedly a democracy after all.

          I'm just wondering about the sanity of those who voted him in the SECOND TIME AROUND.

          Even if he wasn't really voted in, and the voting machines were tampered with etc, the voters are responsible for allowing such voting machines to be used.
      • by couchslug (175151)
        "Hey, doesn't the US have minimum sanity standards for officers in the armed services?"

        Problem being, psych tests only catch people too stupid or uneducated to lie their way through them. They are basically the equivalent of asking "Are you nuts?".
        • by magicchex (898936)

          Problem being, psych tests only catch people too stupid or uneducated to lie their way through them. They are basically the equivalent of asking "Are you nuts?".
          Or too crazy?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mi (197448)

        I'm sure to want to hear about the benefits of driving in diapers.

        This part has been explained in the very first news article on the subject. You want to wear diapers, when you can not (or don't want to) be interrupted. Apparently, astronauts wear diapers at launch/re-entry. It is a good idea, because you may spend a while strapped to a chair.

        She wanted to get over 900 miles as quickly as possible — without stopping to pee — strapped to the driver seat. This part of her act is not at all cra

    • by deft (253558) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @08:20PM (#18269872) Homepage
      "Has anyone tried listening to her side of the story?"

      has anyone tried to listen to it without laughing... thats the hard part.

      What I love about this story is she gets aaa wig, everything you need to kill and torture someone, drives forever to meet her... and the weird part is diapers that isnt weird for her or her job... like none of that other stuff bothers anyone.

      Clearly, we are desensitized to murder and all that... but adult diapers really gets us.
      • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:22PM (#18270580) Homepage
        Because any human with a heart can at least understand the jealous lover who decides to take out the competition even if we'd never actually do it. That's a story as ancient as mankind, something which outside of the immediacy is completely banal.

        The diapers are what make it weird.

        Of course the rest bothers lots of people, it just doesn't make you stop and go "huh?" like hearing she drove cross country wearing diapers does.

        • I mean, really, it's 900 miles, just speed up a bit the next leg, stop, and taking a piss like a normal person.
  • nah (Score:4, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @07:52PM (#18269468) Homepage
    In an unprecedented move for an unprecedented situation, NASA has fired now-former astronaut Lisa Nowack.

    It's not completely unprecedented. They fired the Challenger crew. I guess they just couldn't keep it together.
  • Unprecedented? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by susano_otter (123650) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @07:53PM (#18269496) Homepage
    Okay, I guess technically they've never fired an astronaut before, so it is "unprecedented" in that sense.

    But it's not like it's unusual to fire someone who is incapable of doing the job you hired them to do.

    Sensationalism at its "finest".
    • Not necessarily... (Score:3, Informative)

      by LinDVD (986467)
      Getting fired from the Federal Government is generally tough-especially if you are prior military. Unlike private industry, it requires TONS of paperwork, and/or an extraordinary event. You have to really fuck up to get canned. Typically, the way to deal with a problem employee is to promote them into another department or position-that is usually how it is done. This is one reason why the Federal Government has some seriously mismatched people in certain positions. Also, the closer you are to retireme
      • by josecanuc (91) * on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:03PM (#18271018) Homepage Journal

        Getting fired from the Federal Government is generally tough-especially if you are prior military.

        To be sure, she isn't "prior military". She is a current Navy officer formerly on assignment to NASA. As far as paperwork goes, she is just reassigned out of NASA, since the Navy is still her administrator and she hasn't been discharged (yet).

    • by Lumpy (12016)
      I'm sorry, did she crash the shuttle? kill her crewmates in space? wreck the ISS? no, it seems like she did her job pretty darn well.

      For some reason you think her personal life is part of her job and mission.

      She was fired because she was an ebbarassment to NASA management for her actions outside work, she was NOT fired for being incapable of doing her job.
  • by lothar97 (768215) * <owen@smig[ ]ki.org ['els' in gap]> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @07:54PM (#18269504) Homepage Journal
    One question about this whole thing that has bothered me is that she wore diapers to obviate the need for bathroom breaks. She drove 900 miles really fast, which meant she also had to refuel. Assuming great mileage, a large fuel tank, and a speedy car, she had to stop at least twice to gas. I'm not sure how much time would've been saved by stopping off in the loo. I think it tends to show more of how batty she is- which is good for her defense. Has anyone seen how long the trip actually took for her to drive?
    • by Astral Jung (450195) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @07:59PM (#18269586) Homepage
      Apparently, you've not seen very many gas station restrooms.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You're assuming her bladder capacity was well correlated to her fuel tank capacity.

      There's also the possible issue of lying in wait for her victim at the airport. It'd be terribly embarrasing to drive 900 miles in a blind rage to attack somebody, only to miss your chance due to an ill time potty break.
    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      I've taken a few cross-country driving trips in the 2,000 mile range, taking a 2-3 days to do it. In my '87 Tercel with all my posessions in the back I got around 35 mpg, with my range being about 350 miles. That means about 5-6 hours of continuous driving.

      Now I wouldn't stop except to refuel, except for once when it was simply too painful to keep driving. Women, in my experience, tend to need to go to the bathroom more often than once every 6 hours. Since every unecessary stop puts a severe ding in you
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by creimer (824291)
      Astronauts use rocket fuel in their cars. It's an explosive blend with great mileage.
    • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @08:09PM (#18269714)

      One question about this whole thing that has bothered me is that she wore diapers to obviate the need for bathroom breaks.

      Although we can't be sure, I would guess that it was not to avoid wasting time, and was instead to avoid getting caught on camera. You can fill up your gas tank outside, but most gas stations these days have their WCs on the inside, and most of them have CCTV to take pretty pictures of you. If she was hoping to murder and dispose of her rival, she would absolutely not want any evidence that she had made a cross country trip around the time that the victim disappeared. Of course, most gas stations these days also have cameras watching the license plates of their customers to avoid drive-offs, but I guess she was improving her chances by not going inside.
      • by owlnation (858981)
        I think maybe you are overthinking this a little. Occam's Razor suggests it was just to save time. But maybe she had a diaper fetish, who knows. She's clearly nuts.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Do you know that she in fact stopped at a gas station? If it were me I'd take my gas in cans in the trunk. I've got my gas with me, I've got my diapers. I haven't seen anywhere that she stopped at a gas station, or that she didn't just carry extra gas with her in the trunk.

        Maybe she was a backwoods hiker and thought of the trick of pre-placed cans of gas along the highway where she could grab them later. Good lord, it's not hard to be a criminal genius.
    • by iamacat (583406) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @08:19PM (#18269866)
      How do you think astronauts handle descent in landing capsules, long spacewalks or other situation where one might need to pee? What's bizarre to us, might be routine for people who go on unusual missions.
    • Only on slashdot would you have someone question the logic of a nutcase wearing diapers in order to avoid taking bathroom breaks.
    • Has anyone asked her? Maybe she's been wearing them for years?
  • Why is this odd? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LordPhantom (763327) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @07:57PM (#18269552)
    It's not like this is strange. She's under investigation for a felony... I'm pretty sure that disqualifies her from flying on the space shuttle. If not that, the fact that she's a certifiable whackjob.

    As for her remaining a Navy officer, I suspect she'll get a second (please forgive the pun here) dishonorable discharge after the dust settles.
  • Who's "Nowack"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PhxBlue (562201)

    ... NASA has fired now-former astronaut Lisa Nowack ...

    No, they fired Lisa Nowak. I know this is Slashdot, and I'm not new here ... but Christ, is it that hard to do a little basic spell-checking?

  • I figured she already had been fired. Has she even denied the charges?
  • by dacut (243842) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @08:09PM (#18269720)
    Oefelein told investigators he and Nowak both served on the bicycling team at NASA... Man, I know NASA is strapped for cash, but bicycles?
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      They were looking to a new cost efficient low orbit altitude [uh.edu] vehicle with an environmental appeal.
    • by patio11 (857072) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @08:59PM (#18270268)
      They're custom-made from Lockheed Martin, spent 8 years in development each at a cost of $650 million, use military-grade titanium frames and have wheels made up of 65,000 tiny sheets of vulcanized rubber which are handmade and then painstakingly knit together to best resist wear-and-tear with the road. They're only used for serious scientific business, like carrying a mouse in the basket to see what the physiological changes are to a mouse riding a bicycle. It was determined that the changes are rather similar to what a mouse experiences in low-gravity: not much, and if you give him cheese he really couldn't care less.

      Plans to retest using a hamster and sunflower seeds were scrapped after the bike was totaled in a training accident. (A NASA bicycle rider on loan from the Air Force attempted to take the bicycle over a 3 inch curb, which should have been within the 5 inch tolerance level of the suspension. Unfortunately, one of NASA's subcontractors designed for 5 cm tolerance level instead, and after the suspension exceeded tolerance it folded like only a $600 million can can.)

      NASA is now submitting a proposal for a better, more expensive bicycle to continue their important scientific mission. $1 billion is slated for testing the suspension under a variety of stressful conditions, and as much as $2.50 is slated for experimental apparati for measuring the responses of the hamster.
  • ...is that even though NASA can't afford the search for the killer asteroid [slashdot.org], they can apparently afford the search for the killer astronaut.
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:11PM (#18270426)
    The chick was sporting Pampers when NASA officially endorses Depends.

    She had to go. Were it the NBA, they could have just fined her, or sent her to rehab, but.....

  • NASA has fired astronauts before, people. Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia... all "fired" for various reasons. /...17 in the ashtray
  • by iamthird (998498) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:17PM (#18271738)
    Let's remember that Lisa Nowak is a human being, even though she acted abnormally. I am not defending her wrong actions, but I would just like to say: people, don't be too harsh on her. She has family, friends, and a future (however it may be) just like the rest of us.

    Imagine one of your friends or family member did something like she did. You can't really imagine it, right? That's what her friends and family now face, because she has done something so incredibly unbelievable.

    It's a great sadness and tragedy to her family and friends, NASA, the world space program, and most of all, Lisa Nowak herself.

    Let's hope she and NASA will learn from this lesson and wish that she will still have some hope for her future.

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

Working...