The detective story of Lisa Novak — a successful astronaut, a talentless killer and just an unhappy womanBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/the-detective-story-of-lisa-novak-a-successful-astronaut-a-talentless-killer-and-just-an-unhappy-woman.html
At the film festival in Toronto On September 11, 2019, the film "Pale Blue Dot", shot by American director Noah Hawley, was presented. The plot of the film is so unusual that it seems fictional from beginning to end. But the underlying story of Lisa Novak, a female astronaut who found herself in prison, is completely real.
Lisa Maria Caputo was not an ordinary child. At the age of 6, unlike her peers, she dreamed of becoming not a movie actress or a doctor, but an astronaut. It was at this age, on July 20, 1969, that Lisa first saw open space on TV during the broadcast of the landing of a man on the Moon during the Apollo mission.
From that moment on, the young Caputo was absolutely sure that she was obliged to see with her own eyes the wonderful world beyond the Earth's atmosphere. Lisa turned out to have an iron character — she sacrificed everything that is so dear to girls at her age. Dolls and walks with girlfriends were abandoned — the girl devoted all her time to studying and sports.
Having passed the final exams at Woodworth with excellent results, the girl entered the university without the slightest effort. She graduated from the United States Maritime Academy with a bachelor's degree in Aerospace. Lisa defended her diploma brilliantly, which opened the way for her to enter the sphere of her dreams.
As a result, together with a master's degree, Lisa Maria Caputo received a document stating that during her training she learned to control 30 aircraft and spent 1300 hours in the air. In 1987, she continued her flight practice and graduated from the pilot school in Pensacola, Florida. Here Lisa was awarded the qualification of an officer of the flight technical staff of the Navy.
In Pensacola, Lisa also met her future husband-a young and promising pilot Richard Novak. The romance of the two pilots in love was lightning fast — less than a year after they met, a modest military wedding took place.
In November 1995, Lisa Novak realized that it was time to come to grips with the realization of her dream and came for an interview at NASA. The girl who is used to being a winner everywhere has also become one of the best here. Out of 2432 applicants, the agency selected only 132 and Lisa was one of the leaders of the selection.
The selections and tests following the first interview were endless. Candidates for astronauts were tested for theoretical knowledge, practical skills, physical fitness, psychological health and many other indicators. It was all so tedious and difficult that even the iron Lisa Novak sometimes began to doubt whether she was worthy? But there was nowhere to retreat and the girl went only forward, surprising the examiners and other applicants with her perseverance.
The most difficult thing in an astronaut's career is always to be in shape. After all, they can "whistle" at any time and then there will be no time for swinging. It was for this reason that Lisa and her husband Richard, who also now worked at NASA, could not have a child. Years passed, and Lisa was still not invited to the shuttle team. The forty-year milestone was approaching and the chances of getting into space were becoming less and less.
Disappointed, Lisa succumbed to the persuasions of her husband and gave birth to a son, and just a couple of years later, twin girls. And just at such an inappropriate moment, 39-year-old Lisa Novak was needed by NASA and she was included in the crew of the shuttle STS-118. The preparations for the flight were announced in December 2002, and it was supposed to take place in November 2003.
Lisa perked up, abandoned household chores and completely immersed herself in preparing for the flight. While Richard Novak cooked porridge for the children and washed the sliders, his wife disappeared at work for days. There, the woman met the pilot of her crew, the charming William Ofilein, whom she began to consider her mentor and almost a personal trainer.
Pilot William Ofilein
Novak fell in love with a courageous astronaut and it seemed to her that he reciprocated her. But communication with the pilot was overshadowed by the presence of Colleen Shipman in the team — a bright blonde who constantly hung around Ofilein. Fortunately, Novak was soon able to breathe a sigh of relief, as her opponent failed the decisive selection and was excluded from the shuttle team.
The flight of 2003 was postponed indefinitely due to the accident of the shuttle Columbia, but training, and therefore Lisa's communication with Ofilein continued. Feelings for William inspired Novak, forcing her to prove to herself and everyone around that she is the best. The woman's dream came true in 2006 — the Discovery STS-121 launched on July 4 and the astronauts spent 12 busy days on the ISS.
Astronaut Lisa Novak on the ISS
In orbit, Novak didn't even have time to chat with the pilot Ofilein, and she hoped that their warm friendly relations would get a new round after returning home. But this was not to be. William joked in response to all Lisa's attempts to confess her love, and then seriously stated that nothing could be between them.
For Novak, who was already planning a divorce from a sad "earthly" husband, it was a serious blow. The woman immediately suspected that there was a rival and was right — Ofilein was increasingly noticed in the company of Colleen Shipman.
William Ofilein and Lisa Novak at the NASA Training Center
Novak's hands dropped and she almost gave up training. No one else talked to her about flying, the years were taking their toll, and Lisa understood that soon she would have to take a place on the couch between her husband and children and start watching TV shows and solving crosswords. But the female astronaut could not see her Richard and was indifferent to children — her passion for the pilot Olifein and hatred for the coquette Shipman became the main thing in her life.
In 2007, Lisa divorced her husband and gave him the right to raise children. Almost immediately after that, she begins to plan exactly how to settle accounts with Shipman, who deprived her of the only joy in life. On February 4, 2007, just a month after the divorce, the woman left her hometown in a stolen car and headed for Orlando.
Lisa's rival is Colin Shipman
Lisa had a big black wig on her head, covering her luxurious brown hair, large sunglasses on her nose, and a diaper under her clothes. The last detail helped to save time on stops — the way lay a long way, because from Houston to Orlando as much as 900 miles. Novak's ultimate goal is the airport, where her NASA colleague Colin Shipman is waiting for her.
Photo Novak from the police station. February 2007, Orlando
But everything did not go as planned by Lisa Novak. Already driving into the parking lot of the Orlando airport, where the victim was waiting for her, she, an astronaut selected from thousands for nerves of steel and excellent form, became nervous. And when Lisa, wearing a wig, glasses and a raincoat, ran up to the car that Shipman was driving, she looked like a disheveled and ridiculous tramp.
After glancing at the strange woman in a raincoat, glasses and a black wig on one side, Colleen immediately suspected something was wrong and began to start the car to leave. As a result, all Lisa had time to do was spray her in the face with pepper spray.
Lisa Maria Novak after her arrest. February 2007, Orlando
The frightened Shipman, without hesitation, called 911 and Novak, along with all her equipment of an amateur killer, was detained at the exit from the parking lot. The police arrested the woman and a new, unusual life of the suspect began for Captain Lisa Maria Novak, full of interrogations and identifications.
The woman tried to mislead the investigation, saying that she only wanted to talk to her ex-girlfriend about her personal life, but it did not fit at all with the contents of her bag and the theft of the car. Lisa was lucky — she was released on bail of 25 thousand dollars on February 6, 2007. The court strictly forbade her to approach Colleen Shipman and William Olifein, but Novak no longer planned to do this, since she gave up.
Article in the Daily News about Lisa Novak
Colin Shipman was laid off from NASA, and Ofilein left after her. After leaving the agency, they got married. Lisa Maria Novak is now 56 years old and she lives alone. Because of her act, she became a celebrity and could write books and participate in TV shows, but she does not need it. A woman dreams of something that will never come true - to visit orbit at least once more. But the path to becoming an astronaut is already closed for her forever.