What Happened, Lisa?

Astronaut Lisa Nowak, left, hides under a coat as she is helped into a police car by chief astronaut Steve Lindsey arriving at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007 in Houston. Nowak returned to Texas Wednesday, a day after being charged in Florida with trying to murder the woman she believed was her romantic rival for a space shuttle pilot's affections. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) AP Photo

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Do you remember "The Right Stuff," Tom Wolfe's brilliant book about the early astronauts? So impressive, these brave young men — and so ready for prime time; the media couldn't get enough of them. In the film version, every time the press was around, you could hear the locusts literally eating up the moment.

So here we go again. Lisa Nowak's pathetic, diapered journey to Orlando with her steel mallet and garbage bags was not the stuff the fathers of the space program were dreaming of when NASA was born. She passed every possible test: Naval Academy, pilot, scientist, shuttle ride. The only difference between her and the Mercury Seven was that they had Corvettes and she had three kids.

Maybe, as one of her friends said today, she missed the buzz — the high that comes with the job. Falling in love is like being shot into space — unfortunately, where you're going to land is not the first thing on your mind. Poor Lisa will be known forever for crash-landing in an airport parking garage.


Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.


  • John Kreiser

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