First Major Tom’s a junkie, now this

typed for your pleasure on 7 February 2007, at 12.01 am

Sdtrk: ‘Just can’t get enough’ by Nouvelle vague

Attention J.G Ballard: here’s your latest work of short fiction just waiting to be written. Just throw in a couple of carcrashes, a few clinker rocks, and some high-profile personalities from the Sixties, and BAM! They’ll herald it as ‘a return to form’.

Astronaut in murder plot charge
BBC News | Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 17:52 GMT

A US astronaut accused of attacking a woman she considered competition for the affection of a shuttle pilot has been charged with attempted murder.

Earlier a Florida court had ordered that Navy Capt Lisa Nowak, 43, who was facing charges of attempted kidnapping and battery, could be freed on bail.

However, the introduction of the more serious charge that she intended to murder Colleen Shipman reverses that. A mother of three, Capt Nowak flew on the space shuttle Discovery last July.

Airport interception

The man at the centre of the love triangle was said to be Navy Cmdr William Oefelein, who was a pilot on the Discovery’s mission to the space station in December.

Though he and Capt Nowak never flew on the same mission, they did train together.

According to her written police statement, Capt Nowak described her attachment to Cmdr Oefelein as “more than a working relationship but less than a romantic relationship”.

Capt Nowak is understood to have thought that Ms Shipman was romantically involved with Cmdr Oefelein.

So, when she heard that her rival was due to fly from Texas to Florida, she decided to drive the 1,000 miles (1,600km) from her home in Houston to Orlando International Airport to intercept and confront her. (emphasis mine)

Capt Nowak told police she had not wanted to harm Ms Shipman, just wanting to scare her rival into talking about her relationship with Cmdr Oefelein.

To avoid toilet breaks during the long drive to Orlando, Capt Nowak wore an adult nappy – such as astronauts wear during shuttle launches and landings – and she disguised herself with a wig, dark glasses and a trench coat.
the rest of the article is here

The thing that really gets me, apart from Captain Nowak driving virtually non-stop from Texas to Florida fuelled by Pure Jealousy, is the part where ‘an officer followed Capt Nowak and she was stopped allegedly carrying the wig, an air rifle, a steel mallet, rubber tubing, dustbin bags, black gloves and a knife.’ She obviously meant business!
There’s a footnote in ‘The Atrocity exhibition’, one of my favourite books of J.G Ballard’s, that sprung to mind when I’d read this report:

Little information has been released about the psychological effects of space travel, both on the astronauts and the the public at large. Over the years NASA spokesmen have even denied that the astronauts dream at all during their space flights. But it is clear from the subsequently troubled careers of many of the astronauts (Armstrong, probably the only man for whom the 20th century will be remembered 50,000 years from now, refuses to discuss the moon-landing) that they suffered severe psychological damage.

Perhaps this is partially why Dave Bowman went mad?

EDIT: Damnit, someone at Ballardian already knew about this. Hardly a surprise, really… I’d love to know what James Graham himself thinks about the whole affair

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Ugly bag of mostly water on May 7th, 2007

Bring me the head of Alfredo Garfielda on December 19th, 2006

10 have spoken to “First Major Tom’s a junkie, now this”

  1. Camilla writes:

    unbelieavable story!!!
    she was driving 12 hours wearing diapers for christs sake.
    she’s my hero. i’m on her side all the way!

  2. Tim writes:

    But wouldn’t it have been oh so thrilling if this feminaut misadventure had played out in the heavens themselves? Or isn’t that a Gundam storyline?

  3. Davecat writes:

    Camilla –
    But would you personally want to drive for 12 hours straight wearing adult nappies?
    Perhaps that’s why Capt Nowak is of hero status — she’s done something most of us have never dreamed of doing. At least, not without a lengthy look of displeasure.

    Tim –
    You’re right, I remember that episode! That was maybe five episodes before the Ganda Rowa exploded, and Ideon reset the universe.
    O wait, that was Ideon. Sorry.

  4. Camilla writes:

    you know, i’ve been discussing about this story all over the internet these days. most people don’t like what she did and call her crazy, which is what most people always do anyway.
    Personally i really like what she did. that;s why i said i’m on her side.
    i wouldn’t want to do it lol , but it takes some guts to do it. 🙂

  5. Camilla writes:

    oh, and another thing, your title is one of the best i’ve seen in ages!!! LOL!!! 🙂

  6. Davecat writes:

    Camilla –
    Now that I think about it, the scenario kinda reminds me of the heady days of 1994, where Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan faced off in their famous electrified steel cage ice rink match. I had a bit of a crush on Tonya — Odhinn only knows why in retrospect. She was a Scorpio like me, but she was essentially whiny white trash. But I think I liked her because of her devious little plot against Nancy Kerrigan; it showed Cunning and Guile. That’s the only reason that I can come up with.

    Now that I think about it, both Harding and Kerrigan were both kinda whiny.

  7. Mahtek writes:

    Next on:

    Psychos in Space!

    Capt. O attempts to restrain Engineer Lisa:

    “No Lisa! Don’t use the robotic arm to through her into the sun!”

    “But captain! I’ve abandoned my husband and children to save you from this c**k hungery single hosebag!”

    This poor woman needs help. Now!

    BTW. Those diapers are part of an astronauts uniform. It’s way too much bother to de-spacesuit for such minor things as bowel movements.

    I can appreciate her determination. But my heart goes out to her husband(who posted her bail) and children. They will suffer much fallout from this.

  8. SafeTinspector writes:

    Dave Bowman didn’t go crazy, er…probably didn’t go crazy. It was HAL, his ship’s computer, which went nuts. er….probably didn’t go nuts so much as malfunctioned.
    By the end of 2001 Dave Bowman seemed to have been deified by some transcendant alien race.

    About the diaper-wearing media candy: I’m with you, the most amazing thing is that she kept the hatred stoked long enough to propel her for hours and hours. I dunno about you, but I usually cool down when left alone in a car for a long time.

  9. Everhard writes:

    It seems to me quite possible that the physical and mental strain imposed by any great adventure, space flight included, might cause behavioural fall-out. I recently read an account of a likely reason why Jim Irwin of Apollo 15, after returning from the moon, dedicated his life to searching for Noah’s ark. It turns out (according to what I read) he suffered a heart attack while on the moon. A very mild one, but a heart attack nonetheless. Heart attacks lead to strokes, which irretrievably damage parts of the brain.

  10. Davecat writes:

    That’s… that’s rather messed up. But it would explain his post-space travel behaviour…

    By the way, Email me back! I tried to write you, but my missive was bounced back unceremoniously. Perhaps Shi-chan or I need to send you Gmail invites…

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