March 7, 2007
Astronaut Bill Oefelein was orbiting the earth. but new girlfriend Colleen Shipman was over the moon.
She e-mailed him aboard the space station, that when he landed "first urge will be to rip your clothes off, throw you on the ground, and love the hell out of you." she later wrote: "the thought of you without clothes is pretty nice."
Those newly released e-mails and other documents helped investigators confirm something else. Oefelein had also romanced Lisa Nowak, another astronaut.
Nowak was in orbit about Oefelein. She discovered Shipman's e-mails to him, and his to her, got wildly jealous, and drove more than nine-hundred miles to confront her rival.
"This very significant trigger of having found out that she not only has competition for her love interest but that she was for all intents and purposes being cheated on. That's enough to drive anyone over the edge never mind someone who is not mentally stable" said Dr. Laura Berman.
Nowak's charged with attempted kidnapping and burglary with assault. Attempted murder charges were dropped. She pleaded not guilty.
Nowak had Shipman worried. She told detectives she asked Oeferlein, "Is there going to be some crazy lady showing up at my door, trying to kill me?" No, he said. But he let Nowak keep a key to his apartment, and the password to his personal e-mail.
"I think everybody looks at this as, it's tragic. There's a human tragedy involved. With the whole story and the unfolding of events" said Mark Polansky, shuttle astronaut.
NASA doesn't monitor e-mails of shuttle astronauts, as a privacy issue but given the chance, a jealous ex-lover did.