Steamy E-Mails Highlight NASA Love Triangle
March 6, 2007 — -- NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak carried printouts of romantic e-mails between her former boyfriend, space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein, and his new girlfriend when she drove roughly 900 miles in an alleged attempt to abduct the girlfriend in early February, according to police evidence released Monday.
The steamy e-mail exchanges were sent back and forth between Oefelein and Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman -- including at least one received while Oefelein was on a shuttle mission last December.
The evidence offered insight into the bizarre behavior of Nowak, who viewed Shipman as a romantic rival and has been charged with attempted kidnapping and burglary with assault after an encounter with Shipman in a Florida airport parking lot.
In one e-mail, Shipman wrote, "Will have to control myself when I see you, first the urge will be to rip your clothes off, throw you on the ground, and love the hell out of you."
The e-mails were included in documents released late Monday by the Orange Osceola State Attorney's office in Florida.
Lisa Nowak apparently discovered the e-mails after she used a key she kept to let herself into Oefelein's Houston apartment and log on to his computer. Police said they found printed copies of some of the e-mails when they arrested Nowak at the Orlando International Airport in February.
The evidence also details a love affair between Nowak and Oefelein that he thought was over. Nowak, however, did not.
Oefelein told police he had an affair with Nowak, a 43-year-old married mother of three, that lasted "for some time." The two had worked together on several projects at the Johnson Space Center and belonged to the same bicycling team.
Oefelein met Shipman at the Kennedy Space Center last fall while he was training for STS 116. He continued to date Nowak even while he became involved with Shipman, according to his statement to investigators with the Orlando Police Department.
Shipman thought she and Oefelein were exclusive.
"He told me he had a relationship with a lady that he works with and that the relationship was over, and he had told that lady that the relationship was over," Shipman told the police. "I asked him if he made it clear to her that it was over and he said, 'Yes.'"
When asked by police if Oefelein ever mentioned having problems with Nowak, Shipman replied, "I asked him, 'Are you sure that she's OK with this? Because you know how these things go?' and I said, 'Is there gonna be some crazy lady showing up at my door trying to kill me?' And he said, 'No, no, no, she's not like that. She's fine with it. She's happy for me.'"