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NASA reportedly investigating first allegation of a crime in space

NASA astronaut Anne McClain has admitted to accessing her ex-partner’s bank account from the International Space Station.

Expedition 59 NASA astronaut Anne McClain.
Expedition 59 NASA astronaut Anne McClain.
Image: UPI/PA Images

A CLAIM THAT an astronaut accessed the personal bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station (ISS) is reportedly being investigated by NASA.

According to the New York Times, Anne McClain, a NASA astronaut on a six-month mission aboard the ISS, has admitted to accessing her ex-partner Summer Worden’s account from space but has denied any wrongdoing. 

Ms Worden – who had been raising her son with Ms McClain before their split – became suspicious and asked her bank to check the locations of computers that had recently accessed her bank account with her login details. One computer was registered to NASA, according to the New York Times. 

Astronaut McCain – who has since returned to Earth – told the newspaper through a lawyer that she was simply making sure that the family’s finances were in order.

“She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” her lawyer, Rusty Hardin said, adding that Ms McClain was “totally co-operating”.

Ms McClain and Ms Worden – a former Air Force intelligence officer – married in 2014. In 2018, Ms Worden filed for divorce.

Ms McClain graduated from West Point Military Academy and flew more than 800 combat hours in Iraq as an army pilot before joining NASA in 2013. 

The New York Times reports that Ms Worden has since “filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and her family lodged one with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, accusing Ms McClain of identity theft and improper access to Ms. Worden’s private financial records.”

The five space agencies which are involved in building and running the space station – United States, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada – have “long-established procedures to handle legal issues that arise when astronauts are orbiting Earth,” the New York Times reports. 

However, Mark Sundahl, the director of the Global Space Law Center at Cleveland State University, said he was not aware of any previous allegation of a crime committed in space. NASA officials said it was also unaware of any crimes committed on the space station.

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