NASA is reportedly investigating what’s said to be the first ever instance of a space crime.
According to a report by The New York Times, the space organization is currently looking into a claim that astronaut Anne McClain improperly accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse Summer Worden outside the confines of earth — while aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
McClain — who has since returned to Earth — admitted to accessing the account, but denied any ulterior motive. She took to Twitter, stating there’s “unequivocally no truth to these claims.”
However Worden, an Air Force intelligence officer, felt otherwise. She has filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission and NASA’s Office of Inspector General, accusing “McClain of identity theft and improper access to Ms. Worden’s private financial records.”
There’s unequivocally no truth to these claims. We’ve been going through a painful, personal separation that’s now unfortunately in the media. I appreciate the outpouring of support and will reserve comment until after the investigation. I have total confidence in the IG process.
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) August 24, 2019
The couple had been married since 2014, but Worden filed for divorce in 2018.
McClain graduated from the prestigious West Point military academy and went on to fly more than 800 combat hours over Iraq as an Army pilot.
She was chosen to fly for NASA in 2013, and was scheduled to feature in the first all-female spacewalk earlier this March, before she had to back out at the last minute due to a spacesuit sizing issue.
Given the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and the EU’s involvement in ISS, astronauts will be subject to laws based on their country of citizenship. This might be the first domestic dispute to have “extended into outer space,” but it certainly won’t be the last as space tourism is set to take off in the near future.