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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 22:40 GMT
Nasa reviews astronaut screening
Capt Nowak
Capt Nowak flew on space shuttle Discovery in July last year
Nasa says it will review its psychological screening process after the arrest of an astronaut on an attempted murder charge.

Nasa's deputy administrator Shana Dale said the agency needed to make sure its screening was adequate.

Navy Capt Lisa Nowak, 43, is charged with the attempted murder of an air force captain she believed was a rival for the attentions of a shuttle pilot.

A mother of three, Capt Nowak flew on the space shuttle Discovery last July.

On Tuesday Capt Nowak appeared in a Florida courtroom to face charges of attempted murder, attempted kidnapping and three other crimes stemming from what police described as a love triangle.

She was released on bail and ordered to stay away from the other woman - Colleen Shipman - and to wear a monitoring device.

'Tragic event'

Capt Nowak is understood to have believed Capt Shipman was romantically involved with Cmdr Bill Oefelein.

Police say that when Capt Nowak heard her rival was to fly from Texas to Florida, she decided to drive the 1,000 miles (1,600km) from her home in Houston to Orlando International Airport to intercept and confront her.

Once at the airport she is alleged to have waited in disguise for Capt Shipman to arrive and then followed her onto an airport shuttle bus which dropped Capt Shipman at her car.

Capt Nowak is then said to have attacked the woman with pepper spray.

This is a very unique situation that we're facing
Shana Dale

Nasa officials were quick to pledge their support to the three astronauts involved in the incident.

"This was a tragic event, impacting many lives along the way. And I think we need to deal with that with empathy and a certain level of compassion," Ms Dale told the news conference.

"In terms of long-term ramifications, I don't necessarily see it at this point. This is a very unique situation that we're facing," she said.

"While there is no specific, separate, psychological examination for a shuttle flight, Nasa healthcare providers are experienced in all aspects of healthcare, including behavioural help, and they certainly look for any potential issues or problems," she said.

Captain Lisa Nowak in court

Astronaut on murder plot charge
06 Feb 07 |  Americas
Astronaut in 'love kidnap plot'
06 Feb 07 |  Americas
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10 Dec 06 |  Science/Nature
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17 Jul 06 |  Science/Nature
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07 Dec 06 |  Magazine


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