Astronaut Who Attacked Romantic Rival Forced Out of Navy

Friday, Jul 29, 2011  |  Updated 9:54 AM EDT
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The astronaut who was accused of driving across the country to confront a fellow service member in a romantic dispute has been expelled from the Navy.

Capt. Lisa Nowak, born in D.C. and raised in Rockville, will have to retire with an "other than honorable" discharge, and her pay grade was reduced by one rank, a Navy spokesperson said, after a Navy board of inquiry decision.

Investigators said that Nowak had driven from Houston to Orlando to confront another astronaut, Colleen Shipman, in 2007 .  Shipman, a captain in the Air Force, had started dating space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein.  Nowak also had a love interest in the shuttle pilot.

Allegedly, when Nowak reached her romantic rival in a Florida parking lot, she sprayed pepper spray at the woman.  Investigators also said that in the vehicle Nowak used for the long journey from Texas, they found adult diapers.

A Navy spokesperson told the AP Nowak's conduct "demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member."  Her retirement will go into affect on September 1.

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