quinta-feira, 3 de maio de 2007

Novos documentos revelam que havia tensão entre Lisa Nowak e os restantes astronautas da STS-121.

Apesar dos sorrisos nas fotos e nas conferências de imprensa, parece que nem tudo correu bem na missão STS-121, que decorreu em Julho do ano passado, e em que participou Lisa Nowak.

Novos documentos, resultantes de entrevistas com os outros membros da tripulação desta missão, no âmbito da investigação do caso da agressão a Colleen Shipman, revelam pormenores até agora desconhecidos da personalidade da astronauta.

Aparentemente, Lisa Nowak não 'jogava em equipa' durante a missão, chegando mesmo a recusar tarefas para as quais não tivesse sido treinada. Isto ter-lhe-á custado a nomeação para uma segunda missão no Space Shuttle, que foi para a sua colega (da mesma missão) Stephanie Wilson (à esquerda, em baixo, na foto), o que terá afectado profundamente a astronauta. Ainda mais, pelos vistos.

Outros comentários dos colegas, que podem ser lidos nos documentos (pode aceder a todos os documentos a partir do site do Orlando Sentinel) têm mais a ver com características mais pessoais da astronauta, e que pessoalmente não vejo que peso possam ter no processo.

Uma leitura interessante, pelo menos, para quem se interessa por este mundo dos astronautas, embora haja documentos que pessoalmente ache que não devessem ser trazidos a público, como certos emails e cartas...

Link: Orlando Sentinel - Cobertura detalhada do caso Lisa Nowak

Fonte: Air Force Times

Papers show tension between Nowak, astronauts

By Traci Watson - USA Today
Posted : Wednesday May 2, 2007 10:10:15 EDT

Many NASA staffers knew or heard rumors that Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak was having an affair with a fellow astronaut, long before allegations that she attacked a rival for Cmdr. William Oefelein’s affections, according to documents released Tuesday by the Florida state attorney’s office.

Included in the 124 pages of documents are interviews by NASA’s Office of Inspector General and the Naval Criminal Investigative Services. They detail the low opinion other astronauts had of Nowak and how unhappy she was about not getting a spot on a shuttle mission in October. Nowak allegedly attacked Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman the following February.

NASA has no rules against relationships between astronauts. The Navy forbids adultery by officers. Both were married to other people during their relationship.

Police say Nowak drove 950 miles from her home in Houston to Orlando to confront Shipman, Oefelein’s girlfriend. Nowak pleaded not guilty to attempted kidnapping, burglary with assault and battery. The trial is scheduled for September. Nowak is no longer an astronaut. The Navy has assigned her to duties in a training division in Corpus Christi, Texas. The military will review Nowak’s status after her civil trial is over, spokeswoman Cmdr. Lydia Robertson said.

The new documents include summaries of interviews with astronauts from Nowak’s shuttle mission in July and Oefelein’s flight in December. Astronauts and others on the space agency’s staff told Navy and NASA investigators of seeing Nowak and Oefelein together in unusual settings. Astronaut Michael Fossum described seeing his crewmate Nowak and Oefelein together at the Kennedy Space Center crew residence, normally occupied only by the crew of upcoming missions.

The relationship didn’t affect their work, Fossum said, so he never mentioned anything to anyone.

In 2005, Nowak told two shuttle crewmates she could not fly home to Houston with them from Kennedy in central Florida because she had business nearby, Fossum told investigators. Fossum discovered by looking at flight records that Nowak flew to Key West with Oefelein.

Court documents also indicate Oefelein and Nowak often asked support personnel to juggle complicated schedules so that they could train together, even though they were not assigned to the same crew.

Days before her arrest in February, Nowak asked a scheduler to arrange scuba training and all-day flight practice with Oefelein for her, the investigative summary said. Nowak also was persistent in trying to get the schedule of Oefelein and his crew after they returned from their mission.

Crewmates painted a slightly less flattering picture of Nowak than previously known.

Colleagues told police that Nowak, a quiet, smiling woman in public appearances, could bristle and treat people she worked with poorly. Astronauts who flew with her in space last year said she performed her own tasks flawlessly but was not a team player and was unwilling to help others.

Fossum and Mark Kelly, both of whom flew with Nowak in 2006, said Nowak was disappointed she didn’t get a seat on a shuttle mission scheduled to launch this fall. Crewmate Stephanie Wilson got the spot instead, the astronauts said.

“Nowak was upset that she was not chosen for the job because it was probably her last opportunity for spaceflight,” according to the interview with Fossum.

Kelly blamed Nowak’s failure to get a spot on the flight on her personality. Kelly said “she was not very helpful on their space mission and never went out of her way to help other crewmembers,” the investigators’ report said. Fossum said Nowak could be “‘prickly’ about things, even contentious,” and “weak from a teamwork aspect,” the report summary said.

Trent Hebert, manager of flight crew operations, told investigators a colleague complained about Nowak’s behavior during a public appearance in 2006. She refused to open a drawer to get a pen to sign autographs and then physically blocked a colleague from opening the drawer to get her a pen.

Astronauts also said she refused to give out her cell phone number to her fellow astronauts on last July’s space shuttle mission to the international space station.

Oefelein told investigators that Nowak had two cell phones — one that she paid for and another that Oefelein had given her and paid the monthly bill for service.

The day after Oefelein returned to Earth from the international space station in December, one of his cell phone numbers dialed the other a dozen times and sent seven text messages.

The phone records given to the investigators don’t distinguish which number belonged to whom, since both numbers were paid for by Oefelein.

None of the NASA personnel interviewed in the new documents said they had any inkling Nowak planned to go to Florida to confront Shipman. Kelly and Fossum expressed surprise, not because of the alleged attack, but because Nowak was “notoriously bad at navigating to her destination in a car,” the documents said.

In January, Oefelein told Nowak he wanted to date Shipman exclusively. Oefelein, 42, delivered the news around the time Nowak, 43, separated from her husband. Oefelein and his wife divorced in 2005, about a year after he got involved with Nowak.

Associated Press writer Mike Schneider and Florida Today writer John Kelly contributed to this story.

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