After Shipman called the police, officers saw Nowak stuff a garbage bag into a trash can at the airport.
Inside the bag, they found a wig, trench coat, a BB pistol, a new steel mallet, a new folding knife with a four-inch blade, three to four feet of rubber tubing, several plastic garbage bags, and about $600 in cash.
Nowak and Oefelein did not fly on the same space shuttle mission, but they trained together for 11 days in 2002 at a Canadian army cold-weather survival camp.
Friends and colleagues are baffled over the allegations. One astronaut told ABC News that the astronaut corps at the Johnson Space Center was "totally, totally stunned. Everyone is just stunned."
Nowak is scheduled to be a capcom -- capsule communicator -- on the next space shuttle mission, STS 117, which is targeted for a March 15 launch date.
Will she be suspended?
No one at the Johnson Space Center is saying anything beyond confirming that Nowak is currently on active status. No one remembers a scandal of this proportion in recent memory in the astronaut corps.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.