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Shuttle pilot in bizarre love case quits NASA

Published: Saturday, May 26 2007 12:16 a.m. MDT

HOUSTON (AP) — The space shuttle pilot at the center of a bizarre love triangle that included a former astronaut who now faces attempted kidnapping charges is leaving the space agency, NASA said Friday.

Cmdr. Bill Oefelein will leave NASA on June 1, nearly four months after authorities believe his cooled relationship with Lisa Nowak led her to drive 900 miles from Houston to Florida and confront her romantic rival.

NASA requested a reassignment, and the Navy agreed, said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Doug Gabos. The Navy expects to assign Oefelein to the Naval Network Warfare Command in Norfolk, Va., where he will work in the field of satellite communications. Oefelein will likely report for duty in July, Gabos said.

Oefelein, 42, was previously in a relationship with Nowak, a Navy captain who has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from an attack on Oefelein's girlfriend, Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman, at the Orlando, Fla., airport on Feb. 5.

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