Woman Attacked by Astronaut in Love Triangle: I Still Struggle With Trauma 10 Years Later
Colleen Shipman was dating astronaut Lisa Nowak's ex-boyfriend at the time of the 2007 attack.
A woman who was attacked by a NASA astronaut in a bizarre love triangle spat 10 years ago has revealed she’s still traumatized today.
Colleen Shipman was attacked with pepper spray in the parking lot of Orlando International Airport in 2007. It later emerged that her attacker was female astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who went into space on Space Shuttle Discovery in 2006.
"I do still have anxiety," Shipman told Inside Edition. "I do still look over my shoulder a lot."
Nowak infamously drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando while wearing adult diapers during the 14-hour trek so she wouldn't have to pull over for bathroom breaks.
Nowak was going through a bad breakup with another NASA astronaut, space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein, who was dating Shipman at the time. Nowak wished to get her love rival out of the picture
Shipman currently lives in Alaska, where she has settled into a new life. She’s still coping with the trauma of what happened and is never without a weapon because of it.
"It was absolutely debilitating. I didn't leave the house for a six-month period at one point," she said. "To this day, I’m always armed. I am armed all the time, 24/7."
In surveillance video of the 2007 incident, Nowak can be seen pacing the terminal in Orlando disguised in a hat, wig, gloves and glasses. Shipman was wearing a blue backpack. Nowak followed her down the escalator, then out the terminal to the parking lot, where she pepper-sprayed Shipman.
The disgraced astronaut pleaded guilty and was sentenced to just two days in jail and a year of probation. She was also fired from NASA.
The crime continues to haunt Shipman even in her new life in Alaska.
“If somebody were to sneak up on me, I’d jump out of my skin, and I can't help it,” she said.
Shipman and Oefelein eventually married. They have a 4-year-old son.
"I call him the best husband ever, because he is. And I tell him every day. He makes me laugh every day," she said.
Shipman has published her first novel, Eerie, using the pen name C.M. McCoy. She says writing has helped her close that dark chapter from her past.
"I'm not saying I’m happy that that happened, but I like where I am right now," she said.
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