Promising Life Turned Tragic for Astronaut Lisa Nowak

Lisa M. Nowak

PERSONAL DATA: Born May 10, 1963, in Washington, D.C. As an undergraduate she competed on the track team. Her parents, Alfredo and Jane Caputo, reside in Rockville, Maryland.

EDUCATION: Graduated from C.W. Woodward High School, Rockville, Maryland, in 1981; received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985; a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering and a degree of aeronautical and astronautical engineer from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, both in 1992.

ORGANIZATIONS: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association; Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society.

AWARDS: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal; Navy Achievement Medal; various other service awards.

EXPERIENCE: Nowak received her commission from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 1985, and reported to flight school after six months of temporary duty at Johnson Space Center. She earned her wings as a Naval Flight Officer in June 1987, followed by Electronic Warfare School at Corry Station, Florida, and initial A-7 training at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. In 1992, Nowak completed two years of graduate studies at Monterey, and began working at the Systems Engineering Test Directorate at Patuxent River, Maryland. In 1993, she was selected for both Aerospace Engineering Duty and U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. After graduation in June 1994, she stayed at Patuxent River working as an aircraft systems project officer at the Air Combat Environment Test and Evaluation Facility and at Strike Aircraft Test Squadron, flying the F/A-18 and EA-6B. Nowak was then assigned to the Naval Air Systems Command, working on acquisition of new systems for naval aircraft, when she was selected for the astronaut program.

Nowak has logged over 1,500 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.

NASA EXPERIENCE: After receiving her commission Nowak was assigned temporary duty and from June to November 1985 she provided engineering support for the JSC's Shuttle Training Aircraft Branch at Ellington, Texas. Selected by NASA in April 1996, Nowak reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, she became qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Operations Planning Branch, she also served in the Astronaut Office Robotics Branch and in the CAPCOM Branch, working in Mission Control as prime communicator with on-orbit crews. Nowak flew as a mission specialist on STS-121 in 2006 and has logged almost 13 days in space.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-121 (July 4-17, 2006), was a return-to-flight test mission and assembly flight to the International Space Station. During the 13-day flight the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery tested new equipment and procedures that increase the safety of space shuttles, repaired a rail car on the International Space Station and produced never-before-seen, high-resolution images of the Shuttle during and after its July 4th launch. Nowak was responsible for operating the remote arm during scheduled EVAs. The crew also performed maintenance on the space station and delivered and transferred more than 28,000 pounds of supplies and equipment, and a new Expedition 13 crew member to the station. The mission was accomplished in 306 hours, 37 minutes and 54 seconds.

Source: NASA