Explicit E-mail Exchange May Have Provoked Astronaut Lisa Nowak's Breakdown

ByABC News

March 6, 2007 — -- The following e-mail exchanges obtained by ABC News were written by space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein & Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman. They were found in the possession of astronaut Lisa Nowak when she was arrested after driving from Houston to Orlando in order to confront Shipman.

Oefelein received this first e-mail while he was on a shuttle mission in space.


SENT: Thursday, December, 21, 2006 9:46 PM


SUBJECT: I need a rub down

15 year of gymnastics caught up with me today.

I turned my head to look at the mechanic after he handed me the bill, and now I've got the biggest crick in my shoulder blade.

Whew! That'll wake you up!

I really lucked out. Only $500 (that's 2 helicopter lessons) of routine, really. 80,000 miles and I had never change the spark plugs … whoops… heh heh.

Was stranded at dance class at Merritt Island yesterday, but used my newfound confidence in controlling mechanical thingys (thanks again to the helicopter) to heep the car running till I made it home.

It was a very coordinated maneuver, driving home. Since it stalled when the RPM dipped below 2000, I had to keep my foot on the gas, throw him in neutral, honk my horn, give people the finger…

Alright, I didn't have to do those last 2 things, but it sure made the drive home a lot more fun.

Honestly, though… these are the times when I miss my gigantic family. (and my smoke jumper, whom I know would have come to my rescue)

Will have to control myself when I see you… First urge will be to rip your clothes off, throw you on the ground and love the hell out of you.

Am anxious to get you alone…but honestly, love I want you to totally and thoroughly enjoy you hero's homecoming.

So happy for you!!!!

I'll be here for you….


SENT: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 5:29 PM


SUBJECT: RE: I need a rub down

I just got this e-mail today. We put away the radar that gave us the ability to receive e-mails about a day and a half before landing. SO they save the ones they couldn't uplink in order to give to us when we got back.

You write such good notes!!

You are the best!! I love you.

William Oefelein replied:

Enjoy. The marshmellow pic was taken at my seat

As as you sat in at the simulator. See your charm floating there?Not the best, but you can tell there's an earth in the background.The other was taken just before de-orbit after I had to crawl back into the ascent/Entry Suit.

Missing you.


SENT: Monday January 8, 2007 6:29 PM


SUBJECT: Re: A couple more pics

These are awesome! I don't see the charm though!

*pant pant* … I'm just not seeing it!

It's like those erotic hidden picture games that they have at the bar … only you're fully clothed in the picture … and I'm looking for my charm …

Ok, not like those hidden picture games at all, but I the thought of you without clothes is pretty nice *sigh*

Wish me luck tomorrow! 2 big appointments….

If I had to choose to have only one go well, I honestly don't know which one I'd pick.

Am only sure of 2 things tonight.

1. I love you and I am head-over--heels IN love with you.

2. I'd really like a bath tonight.

That might be three things. I miss you.

William Oefelein replied:

The charm is floating in front of the picture you boob!! What did you say your eyesight is?

As you have said, things will work out how they're supposed to work to - - don't worry too much. I know its hard not to, but everything will be fine. I know you are in perfect health -- we all have squeeks in our wheels. And the IG thing will pass as it should.

We'll talk more. Sorry not to be there in person for you now, but I am still with you where it matters.

By the way need help with No. 2 below!?! If not now, then the next time, OK?


SENT: Monday January 8, 2007 10:44 PM


RE: A couple more pics

*gasp, gasp* I still don't see it!!!

Its it really there? Or is there a camera on me recording me in my frantic attempt to 'see' a charm that isn't really there?

Oh, the embarrassment!

Say, what's a HUD anyways?

Hope they don't revoke my flight qualification due to idiocy

*yawn* Alirght, love … I'm turning in.

William Oefelein Replied:

OH. I'm the boob. Apparently, I can be a moron even when you are not physically near me. I sent a different picture than I though. Tomorrow, I will try to find the one with the charm in it.

I imagine this doesn't surprise you anymore, this idiot you decided to like. You must really have me around your finger that I can't even function without you here, I am slightly smarter than a slug;.

Please don't lose faith in your Space program.There is a lot of smart people here. You just chose to hand around one of the low hanging fruits. We can go back to the moon someday. Maybe I will be able to clean the toilets of those so fortunate to be chosen. Then again, I might creat a clog, so I should persue smoething without the need to excel at anything… I don't know, maybe I should be a roadkill scraper-upper. That shouldn't be too hard. I can scrape up things that don't move on the road, like armadillos, after they've been discomboluated by sexy, hot bodies. Just a thought. I need help.

FROM: Colleen

SENT: Tuesday, January 9. 2007 8:53 AM

TO: William

SUBJECT: RE: A couple more pics

Hey! This could work!

I secretly like to plunge, so together, we could have really good job security.

You're cracking me up! I thought that charm was so hard to see. I had the zoom on and everything. So much in your email to laugh about, I don't know where to start my comment trail.

Oh, crap! I gotta go…don't want to be late for my first appt. Wish me luck!

Love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

William Oefelein replied:

This is like a where's Waldo thing -- try to find the charm in the picture.

I need to see you -- I am having Colleen withdrawls.

Must see Colleen.

FROM: Colleen

SENT: Wednesday January 10, 2007 1:20 PM

TO: William

SUBJECT: RE: A couple of pics

I'm feeling it too Babe!

AHA!!!! I see it!!!! And it took me 0.13 minutes to pick it out.

Ugh! I have to go someplace could and snowy…arg!I'm taking your picture with me… because I like to look at you… and I miss you… and you're hot… and I miss you … and to get through the cold and snowly and lonely night. Did I mention I miss you? *sigh*

I hear they're expcting more snow in Denver. Those poor people. Man, I hope I don't get stuck there.Keep your fingers crossed.

And I haven't booked a hotel yet. Yikes! I better get on that!

And there was an aircraft intrusion into our airspace that caused a hold in our simulated launch. Bastard.They stopped the clock at 2:40. Then I had to leave.

All this pent up excitement and no launch. You'd better watch out when I see you again!!!! GRRR!!!!!

*MUAH* Love you!!!!!

[William Oefelein forwarded a note from Christer Fuglesang, an astronaut with the European Space Agency, about a planned trip to Europe, and refers to it below.]:

Here are a few more specifics about the Europe trip for your planning purposes.

Hope you can make this one too!! I promise to stop bugging you with these annoying trips but I need my beautiful Irish girl to keep the evil, ugly bread canister ladies away from me. I'm not sure when Christer needs the names, but if it looks like a abetter than 50% chance you can go I will let him know. Don't feel pressured to have to make a definitive decision though. I understand you have your other commitments so we will see what happens.

By the way, if you think you may be able to go, you'll need a passport. I assume yours is still valid from before? Was is a blue one or brown one?


SENT: Wednesday 17, 2007 5:18 PM


SUBJECT: FW: Crew trip Europe

Blue one. Still Valid!

And there's 40 Euros in it. Its like finding money in the wash…only I can't spend it. Hmmm.

Alright. Here are my potential conflicts that I'll start working asap:

1. DSP-23 is set to launch 1 Apr. If they go, no conflict. But, I'm 99.9% certain the launch will slip again. Good news is that it will probably be a significant slip. Should know more in the coming weeks. My feel is that this will not be a conflict.

2. My satellite folks are fixing to come to the cape on 25 April with a Trailblazer vehicle. Again, I feel this will most likely slip the right.

I've got the leave to do it.

The only remaining factor is that my boss is a jackass. That's not likely to change between now and then.

I'll start working to deconflict some things.

My chance of attending (barring unforeseen circumstances or miraculous feats of efficiency):Definitely greater than 50%. Id' give it 65%.

Sounds like a great tip … hope I can go with you!

Was thinking about you today. Took one of our pictures to work to put on my desk. I like it there. Makes the workday bearable.

Love you!