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Astronaut granted bond on attempted murder charge

Story Highlights

• Family says suspect Nowak had separated from husband
• NASA puts Nowak on 30-day leave and removes her from flight status
• Suspect released after posting $25,500 in total bonds
• Colleen Shipman seeks restraining order, alleges Nowak has stalked her
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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- Astronaut Lisa Nowak Tuesday was ordered released on an additional $10,000 bond for an attempted murder charge involving a romantic rival.

Nowak, 43, had earlier posted a $15,500 bond on charges of attempted kidnapping, battery and attempted burglary of a car with battery. But, her release was halted as Orlando Police brought the attempted murder charge.

As a condition of her release, Nowak was ordered to wear a global positioning satellite device, known as a GPS.

Nowak, a Navy captain, is accused of accosting Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman, 30, in the parking lot of Orlando International Airport early Monday and spraying her with pepper spray. She told police she only wanted to talk with Shipman. (Watch what it takes to become an astronaut Video )

Nowak and Shipman were both "in a relationship" with Navy Cmdr. Bill Oefelein, another astronaut, according to a police report of the incident.

Nowak told police her relationship with Oefelein was "more than a working relationship and less than a romantic relationship." (Watch how police say a NASA love triangle went awry Video)

Shipman has filed for a restraining order on Nowak in Brevard County, where Shipman lives and works, according to a copy of the order on the county's Web site.

In the paperwork for the order, Shipman said that Nowak had been stalking her for the past two months. A hearing for the order is scheduled for February 20.

Nowak, a married mother of three, made both of her court appearances shackled and wearing a dark-colored jumpsuit. In the afternoon session, for the attempted murder charge, she kept her eyes straight ahead. (Watch a shackled Nowak bow her head as attorneys discuss her bail with the judge Video)

Her attorney, Donald Lykkebak, argued the judge should not find probable cause for the attempted murder charge because it was based on the same incident as the original charges. And he accused Orlando police of wanting a "second bite of the apple."

Nowak's supervisor at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, retired Air Force Col. Steve Lindsey, testified at her morning court appearance.

Lindsey -- who was the commander of Nowak's shuttle flight last year -- assured the judge that Nowak would not have contact with Shipman or have any need to travel to Patrick Air Force Base, where Shipman works, or nearby Kennedy Space Center.

NASA grounds Nowak

Michael Coates, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, later issued a statement saying Nowak "is officially on 30-day leave and has been removed from flight status and all mission-related activities."

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. The charges against Lisa Nowak are serious ones that must be decided by the judicial system," the statement said.

Nowak's family is declining media interviews but released a statement from their home in Rockville, Maryland.

"We are naturally saddened and extremely concerned about the serious allegations being made against Lisa. We love her very much, and right now, our primary focus is on her health and well-being," the family's statement said.

"Lisa is an extremely caring and dedicated mother to her three children. She has been married for 19 years, although she and her husband had separated a few weeks ago," the statement said.

"Considering both her personal and professional life, these alleged events are completely out of character and have come as a tremendous shock to our family," the statement said.

"We hope that the public will keep an open mind about what the facts will eventually show and that the legal system will be allowed to run its course."

According to the arresting affidavits, Nowak drove from Houston to Orlando after discovering Shipman's flight plans on Oefelein's computer.

She printed out detailed maps for the trip, which were found in her car during a police search, along with handwritten directions to Shipman's home. En route, she paid cash for hotel stays and registered under an assumed name.

Once in Orlando, according to the arresting affidavits, Nowak followed Shipman from the airport to her car in a satellite parking lot, where the confrontation took place about 3:45 a.m. Wearing a wig and glasses, Nowak approached Shipman as she got into her car and told her Nowak's boyfriend had not shown up to pick her up and she needed a ride.

Shipman refused, saying she would send help instead. When Nowak complained she couldn't hear Shipman and started to cry, Shipman opened her car window "about two inches" -- and Nowak sprayed pepper spray into the car, police said.

Shipman drove away and found police, who located Nowak at a bus stop. They also found a wig and a plastic bag containing a carbon dioxide-powered BB pistol in a nearby trash can, the report said.

Inside a bag Nowak was carrying, the officer found a tan trench coat, a new steel mallet, a new folding knife with a 4-inch blade, 3 to 4 feet of rubber tubing, several large plastic garbage bags and about $600 in cash, the report said.

Nowak admitted the details of Shipman's story, according to the police report, and permitted a search of her car.

Inside the car, police found an a half dozen latex gloves, MapQuest directions from Houston to Orlando International Airport, e-mails from Shipman to Oefelein, diapers Nowak said she wore to reduce stops along the highway and a letter indicating how much she loved Oefelein.

It is standard procedure for astronauts to wear diapers when they suit up for launch and re-entry.

Nowak, who has been an astronaut since 1996, flew her first shuttle mission last July, serving as a mission specialist aboard the Discovery. Oefelein, 41, was the pilot of the most recent shuttle mission, also aboard Discovery, which flew in December 2006.

After Tuesday's court appearance, Lindsey said he was there to support Nowak "like we would any employee at NASA if they were to get into this situation."

"We're a close family and we try to take care of our own," he added.

Lisa Marie Nowak was ordered released on an additional $10,000 bond on an attempted first degree murder charge.


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