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Lisa Nowak
A smiling Nowak in her orange space suit
Nowak in 2005
Lisa Marie Caputo

May 10, 1963 (1963-05-10) (age 58)
Status Dismissed
Alma mater United States Naval Academy (B.S.)
Naval Postgraduate School (M.S.)
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  • Navy Commendation Medal
  • Navy Achievement Medal
  • NASA Space Flight Medal (2)
Space career
NASA Astronaut
Previous occupation
Test naval flight officer
Rank Commander, United States Navy
Time in space
12d 18h 36min
Selection 1996 NASA Group
Missions STS-121
Mission insignia
STS-121 patch.svg

Lisa Marie Nowak (née Caputo, born May 10, 1963) is an American aeronautical engineer, and former NASA astronaut and United States Navy captain. Nowak served as naval flight officer and test pilot in the Navy. She was selected by NASA for NASA Astronaut Group 16 in 1996, and qualified as a mission specialist in robotics. She flew in space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-121 mission in July 2006, when she was responsible for operating the robotic arms of the shuttle and the International Space Station. In 2007, she was involved in an incident that led to her dismissal from NASA and the Navy.

Born in Washington, D.C., Nowak graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1985. She was assigned to VAQ-34 at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California, where she flew the EA-7L Corsair and ERA-3B Skywarrior. She earned a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering and a degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In 1993 she was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. After graduation, she remained at Patuxent River, flying in the F/A-18 Hornet and EA-6B Prowler. During her Navy career she logged over 1,500 hours in more than 30 aircraft and was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal.

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