Predicting Nowak's Future: 'She's Ruined'

The outrageous behavior of one of NASA's most admired astronauts has now resulted in an overhaul of how all astronauts will be psychologically screened.

Astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak, charged with attempted first-degree murder after confronting and pepper spraying Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman, whom she felt was a romantic rival, has left her organization red-faced.

On Tuesday, NASA administrators made no effort to hide their embarrassment concerning her behavior.

"We expect astronauts, as we expect any NASA employee, to conduct themselves in a way that does not bring dishonor to the space program," NASA's Shana Dale said.

Publicizing Happier Times

Nowak's sister is now trying to lend support by releasing photographs of happier times to the media, including one from 2002 showing Nowak with her husband and their twin daughters.

Nowak boasted about her twins just before the July 2006 launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

"My little girls, the twins, are 4-and-a-half. So they know what space is, they know what the space shuttle is. They know mommy's going to space," she said in an interview with ABC News.

Now, Nowak faces the possibility of going to jail.

While NASA has grounded her and placed her on leave, many of her friends and colleagues are standing by her. Dr. Jonathan Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon, is one of Nowak's biggest supporters. He lost his astronaut wife Laurel Clark when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated in 2003.

"She put off the needs of her own family to help us through this. I feel that if people really knew the amount of sacrifice that she made to take care of us, it would give a different light in the circumstances that exist now," Clark said.

A Career Ruined

Nowak will likely have no shortage of character witnesses when her case goes to trial, and facing attempted murder charges she'll need all the support she can get. If convicted, she could face up to 30 years in prison.

On "Good Morning America," defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger and Court TV's Lisa Bloom weighed in on Nowak and how her case could play out in court.

Considering the materials in her possession -- a steel mallet, a 4-inch knife, a BB gun, pepper spray -- Bloom believes Nowak intended to harm Shipman and wasn't acting out of self-defense.

"[Nowak] follows the woman in the airport, she bangs on the car window … finally she starts to cry, Shipman rolls down the window and she sprays her with pepper spray -- this isn't self-defense!" Bloom said.

According to Fieger, even though Nowak had weapons in her possession, she may not have intended to use them.

"She didn't make any statement she intended to hurt the victim," he said. "She's only guilty, if she's guilty of anything, of assault and battery."

Bloom and Feiger predicted that because of her status as a successful NASA astronaut, the jury and the public will be hard on Nowak when her case goes to trial.

"I think the jury might be very hard on her because she is so highly intelligent," Bloom said.

No matter what happens in court, Feiger said Nowak's career is likely over.

"She's ruined," he said. "She's going to be far more punished in the court of public opinion than she will be in court."

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