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Love triangle astronaut released on bail

Nappy-wearing mission was 'completely out of character'

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Astronaut Lisa Nowak was released on $25,500 bail after appearing in court in Orlando on charges of attempted first-degree murder, attempted kidnapping, and three other offences.

The conditions of her release required Nowak to wear a tracking anklet as she left court hidden under a coat on Tuesday evening local time. NASA has put her on 30 day leave and removed her from mission activities.

The charges stem from Nowak's now-infamous late night 1,000 mile nappy-clad drive from Houston to Orlando Airport bearing a disguise, a mallet, a BB gun, pepper spray, and a knife. Police said a letter in the car "indicated how much Mrs Nowak loved Mr Oefelein", the Washington Post reports.

Florida police believe she intended to kidnap Colleen Shipman, who she saw as a rival for the affections of fellow astronaut William Oefelein. Nowak's lawyer said the charges were severe and inferred too much from her actions. He said: "In the imaginations of the police officers, they extend these facts out into areas where the facts can't be supported."

A statement from Nowak's family said: "Considering both her personal and professional life, these alleged events are completely out of character and have come as a tremendous shock to our family." The mother of three recently separated from her husband of 19 years.

Shipman also filed for a restraining order against Nowak yesterday, saying she had been stalked for two months before the attempt, the Houston Chronicle reports. It is unconfirmed whether the 30-year-old launch support engineer was seeing Oefelein.

Another NASA space botherer, Chris Ferguson, who attended the Orlando court hearing, said: "Perplexed is the word that I'm sticking with." ®

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