Former NASA Astronaut Lisa Nowak Expelled from Navy

Pretrial Hearing Set for Former NASA Astronaut
Former NASA astronaut Lisa M. Nowak participates in an exercise in the systems engineering simulator at Johnson Space Center for her STS-121 mission in 2006. (Image credit: NASA)

Ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak, who was kicked out of NASA after a bizarre altercation with a romantic rival, is now being forced to leave the Navy, according to news reports.

Nowak will retire from the Navy with an "other than honorable" discharge, which will also lower her pay grade and could affect her eligibility for veterans' benefits, reported the Associated Press. Her rank will be demoted from captain to commander when her retirement takes effect on Sept. 1.

A statement released Thursday (July 28) by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan Garcia said that Nowak "demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member," and did not conduct herself as is expected of Navy officers, reported the AP.

In February 2007, Nowak confronted her romantic rival, Air Force captain Colleen Shipman, in the parking lot of the Orlando International Airport. At the time, Shipman had begun dating Nowak's love interest, former space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein.

Nowak faced charges of attempted kidnapping, burglary and battery. She pleaded guilty to felony burglary and misdemeanor battery in a criminal case in November 2009 and was sentenced to a year of probation.

Since she was fired from NASA's astronaut corps, Nowak has been working at the Chief of Naval Air Training station in Corpus Christi, Texas, according to the AP.

Nowak has been in the Navy for 20 years. During her time at NASA, she flew as a mission specialist on the space shuttle Discovery's STS-121 mission in July 2006. The 13-day flight tested new safety procedures following the shuttle Columbia accident and performed general maintenance on the International Space Station.

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