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Astronaut Fired A Month After Kidnap Attempt

Ms Lisa Nowak.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 07, 2007
A US astronaut who drove hundreds of kilometers (miles) in a diaper to confront a love rival has been fired a month after being arrested. "US Navy Captain Lisa Nowak's detail as a NASA astronaut has been terminated, effective March 8, by mutual agreement between NASA and the US Navy," NASA said in a statement. "NASA requested an end to the detail because the agency lacks the administrative means to deal appropriately with the criminal charges pending against Nowak."

Friday, Nowak was charged with attempted kidnapping, attempted burglary and battery, for confronting the girlfriend of another astronaut in February. After Nowak, 43, and a mother of three, was arrested in Florida, police said there was "probable cause" to believe she had intended to murder her alleged romantic rival, but she was not charged with attempted murder.

"NASA's decision to terminate Nowak's detail does not reflect any position by NASA on the criminal charges pending in Florida," the agency said.

Police said Nowak drove more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) from Houston, Texas to Orlando, Florida to attack Colleen Shipman, wearing a diaper so she would not have to take bathroom breaks.

Nowak allegedly thought Shipman, an Air Force captain, shared her romantic interest in 41-year-old shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein.

Nowak wore a wig and trench coat when she approached Shipman's car at Orlando's airport and then doused her with pepper spray, according to police.

Police found a steel mallet, a serrated knife and a loaded pellet gun in Shipman's car.

Nowak told police she only planned to "scare" Shipman into talking about her relationship with Oefelein, and had no intention of harming her.

She said her relationship with Oefelein was "more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship," according to a police affidavit.

Nowak was released on a 25,500-dollar bond two days after her arrest.

The case has captivated US media, earning headlines such as "Astronaughty," "Space Oddity" "Lust in Space" and "Astronut."

A US Navy officer since 1987, Nowak trained for two years as an astronaut at the Johnson Space Center in Houston from 1996.

She worked in Mission Control as prime communicator with orbiting crews and flew as a mission specialist on the shuttle Discovery's July 4-17 mission to the International Space Station.

Nowak and her husband, a NASA flight controller, both work at the Johnson Space Center. They have a 14-year-old son and five-year-old twin daughters.

Her family said in a statement that the astronaut had recently separated from her husband after 19 years of marriage. On the July shuttle mission Nowak had operated a robotic arm with astronaut Stephanie Wilson in a job that earned them the nickname "Robo Chicks."

Oefelein, who according to his NASA biography has two children and is reportedly divorced, served as pilot on the Discovery's December 9-22, 2006 mission to the ISS.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Japanese Instant Noodle Pioneer In Final Blastoff
Tokyo (AFP) Mar 01, 2007
Thousands of people bade farewell Tuesday to the Japanese inventor of instant noodles in a sci-fi funeral befitting a man whose creation has gone round the planet and into space. Momofuku Ando, who died on January 5 at age 96, was symbolically blasted off into space at a ceremony in a baseball stadium in the western city of Osaka. Ando triggered a revolution in 1958 when he created a dried noodle cake that could turn into a meal by adding hot water.

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