Feedback on the Nowak Saga

Editor's note: OK. I have spouted off enough on the Nowak saga. What do you think about all of this? Send your comments to Some comments thus far:

I agree that this is a tragedy, for more folks than most might realize. I agree that those in her position are under stress that transcends most professions. When I hear those who try to logically tie the two statements together though, it bothers me no small amount. I'd like to empathize with her - I have many good friends in her profession, and these are true national heroes. I keep coming back, in my mind, though, to the fact that she apparently made a list of items she needed for her plan, bought those items one by one, then drove 14 hours with items in her posession to complete the plan. And "the plan" seems pretty clear, given the items she bought. Where was the inner voice, during that long drive, that cried out "what the hell are you doing?". Seems hard to believe that this was an act of irrational passion, borne out of the stresses of profession and family. Seems more likely that there was a fundamental problem in her mind that was well concealed from a lot of folks, in a lot of organizations, for a very long time. The stress of her job in no way mitigates the decisions she apparently made. Her actions, if accounts are accurate, demean the honorable graduates of the institutions she succeeded in. I'll cringe when her lawyers maintain that her actions were a natural consequence of the rigors of her job (as they are certain to). They weren't.

What a pity you and nearly every other space-oriented website out there is consumed with this story (does the banking industry go into an uproar every time one of theirs gets arrested for criminal behavior?)! Two days ago, the New York Times had an excellent story (with an excellent graphic) on the front page describing the REAL repercussions to ISS and all of the other international space assets from debris as a result of the Chinese anti-satellite hit. ( for those interested in that sort of thing). But nary a word is mentioned here or at or at

Shouldn't that be more important to a space-related site, the real risks to our on-duty astronauts and space assets, than the off-duty shananigans of one of our astonauts? With the general media, I expect to see their priorities all mixed up. What a pity to see the same sensationalism here.

Just like the Apollo 204 fire probably ended up saving lives and actually made getting to the Moon successful, perhaps Lisa Nowak's "meltdown" will end up doing the same for any future Moon/Mars long duration missions. It now appears that NASA is reevaluating its screening methods and procedures. Perhaps this will lead to making sure that people who will undertake these missions have their mental issues tended to before there are problems. There is still a lot to find out in regards to what happened with her, but this was just something that crossed my mind. Perhaps something good will come out of all this. Thankfully no one was seriously injured, and hopefully she will get the help she needs. After that, let us all leave her the hell alone.

I'm ex-Navy and have had the chance to work for a short time around military law. The chances of a Lisa Nowak, committing acts, like these was good and was getting higher with every new astronaut. In my time in the Navy I've seen just as many commissioned officers comment high crimes than the common enlisted person, throwing away great careers. I think a good portion of the NASA people are more disturbed that one of their most honored and respected icons, an astronaut, has been permanently demoted to the status of the common criminal, than anything else. There is nothing that NASA or the Navy could have done to prevent this before, now or in the future. The stories I've heard of how wild the first NASA astronauts and test pilots were in the 50s and 60s would make a sailor like me blush. Take off the fancy uniforms, medals, flight suits and what you have is the common human with all its weaknesses. The best thing NASA could do is cooperate with the law and let justice handle it.

Based on some of the comments posted it appears that NASA has a few disgruntled employees taking this opportunity to lash out. Imagine what its like at other Gov agencies. Cause you know NASA is the best place in Gov to work at and JSC and MSFC are the best centers to work at based on independent surveys of the employees. Yes this event with Nowak is bizzare at best, if you wrote a book with this as a plot line it would be considered ridiculous, but life is stranger then fiction.

Lets let the process work it self out I'm sure there will be more revealed, such as: Did Bill Oefelein have an affair with Nowak or was he just an innocent bystander? Did he lead her on? Had Nowak been taking medication that caused her to crack? Is this part of a NASA experiment that went bad and got out of control and thats why they sent the 2 Astronauts to "help" her but really were there to apprehend her? Hmm makes me wonder.

No way would NASA back me up if I had those charges. If we are going to spend billions of tax dollars to send these people to the moon, then we should know what else is going on in the astronaut corps. A GSFC Employee

We don't know all the facts, so we can't say Lisa should've known better. Does it make the charges against her any less serious? Absolutely not. The post from the person at MSFC was right on the money. There's a "don't ask don't tell" mentality when it comes to personal problems. People having problems are considered weak and people work behind the scenes to get rid of them or move them around. I know about the disabled guy who got fired at MSFC. It was a terrible situation. They found a way to get around the ADA law. Contractors are very susceptible to mistreatment because it's easier to fire them.

Has the NASA culture changed? Not when it comes to working with people on a daily basis regular office stuff. Don't say anything they don't want to hear or you'll suffer for it. Especially if you are outside the inner circle. They'll find a way to shun you or show you the door.

It's not just the astronauts who have to be perfect, but everybody else as well. The pressure is high, the communication is low, and employees suffer in the middle especially the contractors. It is a sick way to operate.

Until NASA starts placing emphasis on people skills, not just technical skills, this will continue. Maybe Lisa's situation will call attention to a pervasive problem.

Keith, Lisa Nowak's recent transgressions showeddetermination, improvisation, dedication, planningand execution.

I have workedat NASA Glenn for over 19 years and I haven't seen that kind of initiative out of a civil servant here yet!

Hell, I say we should keep her and send her to Cleveland!

I think we and all the so called experts should learn a lesson from the Duke rape case. We must stop rushing to judgment and speculation until we know many more facts.

First of all, this entire situation drives a very important issue home. NASA, or for that matter any government agency, does not have adequate psychological help (e.g. EAP) for their employees. How many times have we heard recently of a soldier coming home from Iraq that kills their spouse, children, etc. and it is told that they have a history of mental problems? It is more often than we think, and it gets swept under the rug. Usually you find these stories on the weather page of the paper or some other oft-unseen section. We always hear about it when someone loses a limb or their life, but never when a person loses their mind. Does it have to take the mug shot of an astronaut, taken after she traveled almost 1000 miles to assail an possible romantic rival, to make the government realize that they need to keep up with their employees and give them the help they need?

Cases just like this one happen all the time in our country, basically they are fodder for "Dateline NBC" to do something different than "To Catch a Predator". The reason why the world is so interested now is because two of our countries supposedly "squeaky clean, all-go, no-quit" astronauts..are actually HUMAN! If you look at the history of the astronaut corps, infidelity is nothing new. In fact, when one astronaut married his mistress in 1969, it essentially ended the well-known "Astronaut Wives Club" over whether to accept her. The problem is that, again, NASA doesn't want their corps to be seen by the press as anything but heroes, and as a result all these things are kept under wraps. One former astronaut committed suicide six months ago, and only local press got word of it. When astronauts went through alcoholism, depression, infidelity and divorce in the 70's and 80's, no one got a word of it, again because these men and women are heroes, and heroes can't possibly be human in NASA's eyes.

I am a supporter of our space program, have been for years, but NASA needs to get it's head out of the stars and back to earth when it comes to their "Golden Boy and Girl" astronauts. They need to get their facts together and realize that if they make their astronauts more human, actually show them as "lunch pail toting Joe's and Jane's", realizing that they have families, spouses, and also have problems, they will be looked upon no differently than any other hero that serves this country.

I have some sympathy for Nowak, but onlyin thiscontext: 2 years ago asibling of mine had a similar "mental meltdown" and until this has happened to someone you love,people shouldn't rush to condemn and judge her so quickly. Now, about Colleen Shipman -- my heart trulygoes out to her for the terror and embarrasment this incident has caused her. It's quite possible that on the face of it,Shipman has done nothing more wrong than fall in love with a handsome, dashing alpha-male Astronaut. Without knowing Bill Oefelein, I cannot say whether he is a "cad" or not. I also do not know if hehad a romantic or sexual relationship with Lisa Nowak. It's none of our business. But if so, heperformeda clicheby getting involved with a woman in a fragile marital and mental state. Nowakhad an unhappy, disintegratingmarriage in recent times, it hasbeen revealed. And when you are miserablea very attractive, singleperson in your circle of associates can be a powerful draw.

Combine that attraction with a driven, goal-oriented personality that has become damaged and you have a recipe for disaster, which very nearly happened. On the face of it, it certainly looks as though Lisa Nowak considered carrying out murder to get what she wanted; the removal of an obstacle that stood in the way of accomplishing her mission. That mission? Toobtain the affectionsof a man she considered attractiveand wonderful enough to leave her husband andchildrenfor. A person in their right mind would consider the pain her actions would bring to her children, husband and colleagues. They would also consider the damage to an exclusive, golden career. The fact Lisa Nowak apparently didnot consider the consequences suggests a damaged mind and personality. However, she committedviolent and near-tragic acts and must face the consequences, regardless of what her mental state is eventually analysed to be.

I hope the Nowak family and the extended Nasa family take good care of the Nowak children. Childrenare a precious resource and in our Western society there are now far too many childrenfrom broken families.

I think it was the Judge in Florida who made the BIG mistake. Anybody remember Andrea Yates another JSC vicinity Headliner? She should have undergone a medical eval as part of the Bail hearing rather than let her walk around. I bet she is going to be kept in sanctioned bondage by NASA/Astronauts to both guard against any further episode and to do no further damage to the image.

A question I have is " is attempted kidnapping ( a charge I believe ) a Federal Offense as is kidnapping? If so, where is the FBI/Justice Dept on this.

It's clear everyone at NASA understands that she's being treated differently than anyone else because she's an astronaut. But, that's always the way it is at NASA, right? Astronauts are never wrong, about anything. If they mess up during a flight, blame training or flight control. I'd like to know how much taxpayer money NASA has spent, and will spend, trying to help her out of a non-job-related jam she did on her own time. (T-38 flights, astronaut time to go assist law enforcement) What do astronauts know about law enforcement?? Meanwhile, the engineering staff on space station is going through layoffs...

Why is NASA doing a psychological evaluation of Nowak? Her psychological condition will clearly be important in a trial. NASA should stay out of it and let the legal system take over. I think NASA just wants to do one quickly, so they can come in as experts on what she was like right after the event, and heaven knows, they will side with her all the way. No employer should be doing what NASA is doing now, and that's what NASA is, her employer. NASA should just butt out. NASA should simply tell the Navy they no longer need her services and have the Navy re-assign her away from JSC.

As a Fed employee (with another agency) I went through Clinical Depression about 10 years ago. My office manager told me to my face the Clinical Depression was hokum. (I never told him that I was going through this, he just up and said it). The Employee Assistance Program folks simply wanted to make sure that I had access to mental health professionals. In light of the above, I think that it was great that members of her agency went down to be with her in that frightning situation, whether or not they did anything. It was OK that she came back on a commercial airline. OK, her career as an astronaut is finished (mine went into a lower-paying job), but the agency is helping her deal with the situation (Psychological evaluation). It's frighting to find oneself in a situation where you don't have control all of a sudden, which is where she is right now. Yes, I think that the guy should also be 're-evaluated,' if not also removed for exposing himself to listen to her/participate in what ever kind of extra-affair they had. At least. Maybe NASA should have a 'group therapy' session to deal with the let-down after a flight?

Me personally? I couldn't care less about Lisa Nowak. O.K., it was interesting...for about five minutes. Would it really get that much attention if she weren't an astronaut? How many other stalking cases are there out there (me, for example)?

How could she forget the duct tape?

Excuse me but, lets keep focus on what so far has been release as to the facts on Lisa's just two very importantones: (Various Media Releases)

Shipman told police that Nowak followed her to a parking lot at the Orlando airport and tried to enter her car. Shipman says Nowak then sprayed a chemical at her, apparently pepper spray.

Police say Nowak had a BB-gun, steel mallet, folding knife, rubber tubing and garbage bags, as well as a letter saying how much she loved Oefelein.

I am just beside myself that I have heard in the mediaspoken words to suggestthat we must have somekind of simpathy towards Lisa Nowak? The accounts tell me of a very well thought process by Lisa Nowaksuch that shedrove 900 miles and carrieditems that Police stated she had at the time of arrest and in her vehicle. Yes, I do beleive in due process of the Law but, lets get real here and lets just state the facts as they unfolded and not sugar coat things like using words like a "Tragic" and lets think about the victim instead and actually what happened to her!

If this was a male, the book would have been thrown at him as we certainly have gender bias in this country! I see it on a daily basis in the divorce court, the woman says she was abused and it's treated as the holy book itself but, if the man says something they look at him and ask him to prove it!

The fact that other Astro-NUTS came to her side is really nice and in team spirit but, not the best judgement as they all are representing NASA because of who they are so, it really angers me when they say "This is a Tragic Situation etc.....etc..." WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIM???

How about the poor Collen Shipman who suffered spray from a possible pepper spray?

Here's Colleen Shipman's Injunction!!!

I am tired of reading poor Lisa this and poor Lisa Nowak that!

Kennedy Space Center worker.

Balancing a high stress career, parenthood, and a marriage. How many other cries for help go unheeded every day?

Yep, got to agree with the other MSFC employee: only astronauts would get this kind of treatment. Any other NASA employee would be left out on the street to fend for themselves. And, NO, I do not believe for one minute that if I had some sort of legal trouble, on my own time, that NASA would fly my boss to wherever I was to help me out.

This whole debate is ridiculous. Yes, Lisa did sacrifice a lot for the Agency. But our astronaut corps is VOLUNTARY. No one forced her to do any of this. I work for the Shuttle program. I do my job because I love it. Myself and my colleagues sacrifice just as much (just ask our families) to keep this vehicle flying safely and on time. Yet, we're treated like dirt. Don't think of the astronauts as 'just humans like everyone else' as NASA HQ holds them far above the rest of the Agency and treats them much differently...often giving them considerations and perks that the rest of us 'regular employees' don't enjoy.

Don't let HQ or anyone else tell you that NASA would treat all its employees this way. We simply know this to be do they - no matter what they say.

Another MSFC employee (Shuttle Program)

Astronauts are people.

People do dumb stuff.

I once had a vision of the first human stepping onto the dry red planet declaring a large step for a woman and a just another small step for humanity. That vision is now blurred byimages of a female astronaut stepping intowet mud to wrestle Tonya Harding.

Are you people for real? "Poor Lisa this, poor Lisa that ...?"The woman is charged with ATTEMPTED MURDER. Yes, it's sad for her family, sad for NASA, blah, blah, blah. Blame it on George Bush and Fox News if that makes you feel better. NASA doesn't treat its employees equally and it's "One NASA" mantra is a sham. Anyone who has worked at one of the centers or at HQ comes to this realization pretty quickly. The EAP is a sham. A contractor at Marshall was having emotional problems because of a physical disability and an uncaring attitude from NASA and the person's boss didn't help. When told they had to go for EAP counseling, the person agreed, but was fired -- yes, fired, one week later. NASA lost one of its brightest "think outside of the box" talents with that stunt.

And -- this person was only trying to do his job. He wasn't charged with attempted murder! Lisa chose to be an astronaut. At $1 billion a launch (you know it's not $500 million) and all of the training invested in her, it makes sense they will try to protect her. What hypocrites. Fire the guy who is depressed but protect the person charged with attempted murder. Way to go NASA. Keith, if you've got such an attitude about FOX News, why don't you check out what other outlets are saying? Can't wait to see you on Bill O'Reilly though.

A Marshall Space Flight Center employee

Everyone seems to be asking how someone like this could have gotten past the psychological screening process, but the truth is this is EXACTLY what astronaut screening selects for - namely, prima donna-ish, dominating, driven, overachievers who will do absolutely anything to get ahead, who are worshipped for their celebrity factor more than their talent and ability, who feel they deserve anything they want and are prepared to take it, and who wouldn't think twice about removing any obstacle that stands in their way, human or otherwise. This isn't what gets through; it's what the system creates, selects, filters for.

These aren't the heroes of the Mercury and Apollo eras. Only the people who can't see through the nice facade think this isn't possible.

Would NASA stand by any of its own in this manner - definitely not, only an astronaut or other celebrity employee would get this kind of unconditional devotion. Anyone else they'd toss in a minute. This appeared to be a well-planned, rationally-thought out, systematic (alleged) murder attempt.

It doesn't take a genius or a rocket scientist to figure out what driving 900 miles in diapers with a BB gun to intimidate, pepper spray to disable, a mallet to kill, a buck knife to carve and dismember, and a plastic bag and rope to dispose of a body implies. Kidnap first, murder second. It is the police who are being criticised who actually saved two lives from being totally destroyed in this case.

Are astronauts all too human? I'd say they are not human enough.

I wonder, why did NASA feel that they had to send someone from JSC all the way to Florida to get an "unfiltered" perspective on what was going on with Nowak? It's typical of the astronaut office to want to protect their own and contain whatever story is out there. What about the fine people NASA has at KSC who are as concerned about an unblemished image? What are we, chopped liver?

For every Nowak who went screwball, there are 1000 other candidates who wouldn't have had this problem but NASA rejected. Once again, it's not what you know but who you know at NASA. What if she wasn't caught and she headed for a 6 month space station mission with a man, another heroine, a steel mallet, a knife, and some garbage bags?

Keith, When this story first broke, my jaw dropped. Lisa Nowak? Of all people, she would be the last person I would think of. The mug shot says it alla woman who has had a total mental breakdown. Her career is over and she may get some jail time, but I hope she gets excellent psychiatric help. I am no shrink but my thoughts are that she had spent so much time training for her flight, the adrenaline rush of the flight, and the letdown after the flight was over. I would be willing to bet that her marriage has been on the rocks for some time. She was probably looking for a male figure in her life, someone who could relate to what she did for a living. Whether it was infatuation or something else with Bill Oefelein, when will probably learn the sordid details when Nowak goes through the judicial system.

Now on to Bill Oefelein. He should either be forced to resign or be fired by NASA. All three involved in the triangle are military officers and a military officer fraternizing or having an affair with another military officer or enlisted personnel is conduct unbecoming an officer and subject to court marshal. No one is talking about his embarrassment of NASA. He has to go. Oefelein's alleged lover, Colleen Shipman, should resign from the military if it is true she and Oefelein were having an affair.

The lives of three talented people are in a shambles from lack of indiscretion. This behavior is not tolerated in other government agencies or any workplace. But, as the old saying goes, the fox has been guarding the hen's house for a long time! I look for significant changes in the supervision of the astronauts.

But all of this should bring everyone to the realization that astronauts are real people and not idols on a pedestal.

It seems appropriate to me that a government agency would provide immediate assistance to an employee having a personal crisis. If Lisa Nowak had suffered a heart attack NASA would have pulled out all the stops to save her, and it's equally right that they assist her in the case of mental health emergency. In the long term though I don't see how NASA can bring her back to work. This is unfortunately a life-altering event for Nowak but I think the reality is that after a breakdown of this magnitude it would be unreasonable to expect anyone at NASA to rely upon her judgement.

Whatever happened happened. Is anyone else sickened even more by the display of the media? These idiots knocked on her home door the night of the incident on live television, presumably with husband and three kids inside. I wished one of the children came out so we could really see how perverted the media is, or at least the husband come out with a bat and justifiably crack the reporter. If on a jury, I for one would wonder why the husband came out with just a bat. There has to be some sort of legislation put in place to keep these animals out of peoples properties. Or do we want Geraldo giving away troop movements in our front yards?

I read the comments that were posted as of 1PM Eastern Time. One question I have is to the reader who suggested that Mr. Oefelein be fired. What did he do wrong?

The general tone seems to be that Lisa will never work for the agency again. Why draw that conclusion only 2 days after her arrest? Who will ultimately make that decision? She obviously has a lot of talent and knowledge to offer to the agency. She has served the agency well. Therefore, I am rooting for her to work herself back to the person she was when she flew on the Shuttle Discovery Mission. I believe this will happen with adequate support from her families at NASA and outside of NASA.

Keith; Good coverage on theMs. Nowak item. Understanding that we are all human some are destined to "greater scrutiny" due to their place in life. As for Ms. Nowak, undoubtedly she falls into that category. Having said that, it is completely understandable that these things can occur at any level of personal and professional life. The key difference in this case is the obvious breakdown in her decision making process which concluded in her actions we are all aware of now. Astronauts are among the elite professional occupationswho's decision making process must be as sound as stone which in a situation of process breakdown could result in loss of hardsware and/or lives. Decisions made on mission are among the most critical imaginable and any risk, however slight, should be avoided at all cost.

Maybe this incident will call into question our culture of astronaut worship. I've worked with many of the astronauts in the past and have also found them to be normal people (albeit highly talented) with all the foibles one might find in a more general sample of the population. What happened Lisa Nowak didis very sad - and disturbing -indeed, but there will be a fringe with any group of people. This incident calls into question, however, the larger issue of the psychological challenges of long-term spaceflight. Most crews I worked with in the past had at least onemajor interpersonal issue - again, something we would typically find in the general population. The difference here is that these crews are in cramped quarters for extended periods of time while in space, unable to spend time with their families, engage in their hobbies,or otherwise get the benefits of the "relief valve" of being outside work. With us spending billions of dollars to undertake future missions of human exploration, can we afford not to more seriously examine the very human, psychological side of the equation - and finally admit that while we will continue to admire them, our astronauts are indeed human?

When I first heard about this on the news, I was shocked and saddened that an accomplished Astronaut like Lisa Nowak would throw away her life over something like this. Why didn't she think about what the consequences of her actions would cause?. I mean if she just wanted to 'scare' the other woman, didn't she stop to think that she would be reported to the police? She definitely has a few screws loose without a doubt to do what she did. I also feel sad for her kids and her family as well ,since this obviously has to be very difficult on them. I'm quite certain she won't be working at NASA anymore, even though NASA can't just come out and say she is 'fired' I think the 30 day leave and having the flight assignments taken away is a good indicator she won't be back.

Your editorial comment about one astronaut does not represent the entire agency is quite correct. Unfortunately, this is clearly a case where NASA, itself, has done the real damage. The agency as a whole has decayed over the past 15 years and yet always used the notion of the astronaut corps and the moon shots to rally the troops and gain public support. It was NASA itself that created the myth of the astronauts as being super-human -- and they continued to work that myth hard over the past 40 years. This allowed the agency to ignore serious issues brewing under its surface. But a successful agency cannot repeatedly summon the past to secure it's future. Now, with serious cracks in the facade that NASA likes to show the public, the organizational rot and petty politics defining it's direction for years might come alight in unexpected and unfortunate ways. NASA might find that when you live by the puffy PR pieces, you could die by them as well.

A tragic and sad situation for all concerned: Lisa., her "victim," families, NASA, etc. I agree that initially going to her aid on taxpayers' dimes is not wrong. The military will often send support (and observers) to military members that are in trouble. Another thing to keep in mind is that she is an active duty Navy officer, and as such is still subject to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Her actions probably violated several regulations under the UCMJ, not the least of which would be "conduct unbecoming an officer." While it doesn't happen often, I have seen otherwise good officers drummed out via courts martial (or retired in lieu of courts martial) for offenses such as committing adultery. It may be interesting to see how the Navy handles her case, too.


I dont see sending people to Lisa's aid as an issue. She has spent countless months/years away from her family. She risked her life for the sake of the Agency's mission. Arguably, her service may have contributed to her state of mind. Sending people to her aid does not seem like a misuse of the taxpayer's dollars. Undoubtedly there some bean counting bureaucrat who will point to some subchapter in a regulation which will tell us that we can't assist in personal matters. But, prescribed regulations can't have contemplated what Lisa has sacrificed and the debt which she is owed.

I think NASA should be doing everything possible to help Nowak out right now. Unfortunately, that mug shot is the current face of NASA. This is the most press the agency has gotten in a long time (obviously bad). Anything that can be done to stabilize this mess is a good thing and in the agency's best interest. If that involves sending astronauts to the court room, so be it.

Keith - you ragged on HQ for not trying to take control of the story earlier, now you rag on them for trying to do something about it, i.e. sending the guys out in a NASA jet. Make your mind up! If it's a personal personnel issue, NASA should do nothing beyond note that Nowak's been put on leave. If (as I believe) Nowak's astronaut status and the media blitz require NASA to address the issue both internally and publicly, then it's legit NASA business. Indeed, the issue of astronauts who might be sent on long duration missions suddenly and unexpectedly going bonkers should be a primary concern of "NASA psychologists" and putting them on the first jet to Orlando makes complete sense, it's very much their job. Sending an astro who knows Nowak along for the ride may be more of a stretch to a pure bean counter, but I think any organization with pretensions to human feelings would consider that a reasonable thing to do. Anyway, Lindsey's her boss and it makes sense for him to go and investigate the situation close up before deciding what personnel actions to take against her and others. What a sad, sordid story.

I, for one, am disgusted with the Lisa Nowak business. Astronauts are NOT normal people; the represent NASA and all of the thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax payer funding that supports this dream of space.

I sincerely hope that Nowak and Oefelein are immediately fired from NASA. This is not acceptable behavior in any work environment, and especially for two people who represent NASA and the people who make them what they are.

I depend on your site to cover space news I generally don't hear anywhere else. The mass media is already thrashing away at the Novak thing and the last several topics on have been about her. IMHO this is probably gotten to be very old news to a lot of your readers.

Keith, The Nowak case certainly raises some interesting questions on the issue of standard of treatment of employees and whether or not all NASA employees are viewed as equals when it comes to personnel matters. Obviously an "Astronaut" is certainly going to garner more attention than say a NASA resource manager, but I wonder if the resource manager's supervisor would fly halfway across the country on (presumably) taxpayer's nickel to stand by their person in a court when said person is standing accused of a crime? And, would the same treatment apply to a NASA contractor? Does "we are family" only apply to Astronauts? Is the GS-5 included? I for one would like to think so. I actually applaud the fact that Nowak's commander (supervisor???) went to be "by her side", but if it is OK for him to use travel money to support her, then I hope it will be OK for me to do the same if one of my people were to get in trouble and I wanted to travel a distance to be "with family". Relatedly, I suspect the public's ensuing fascination with this story is similar to the type of attention we inevitably get when the Shuttle's were lost. My secret hope from all this, and I doubt it will actually happen, is that we all learn about each other's humanity, including Astronauts, and what can happen even to the "best and brightest" when the power of an emotion or a diseased perspective, or whatever causes us to behave in ways that would shock ourselves. At the end of the day, we need to just look a little more deeply in the mirror and examine the "image" more closely.

Some of the blame has to shift NASA'a way

You wrote:

"Alas, just watch as the ill-informed try and wrongly transform this personal tragedy into one that encompasses all that NASA does, everywhere."

It's been over 24 hours and still nothing from Greg Easterbrook. I'm shocked.

Well, much of the "water cooler" talk I heard today was sympathetic expressions of sadness over the whole matter. Which of us hasn't at some point in our lives, come to a spot where we wondered how things had gone so wrong? Maybe not *that* wrong...

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on February 8, 2007 1:00 PM.

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