NASA Astronaut Accused of Stealing Identity While in Orbit -- Could That Be The First Crime in Space?

NASA Astronaut Accused of Stealing Identity While in Orbit -- Could That Be The First Crime in Space?995
source: Pixabay

NASA is reportedly investigating a claim that the decorated astronaut, Anne McClain, accessed her estranged wife bank account while she was living on the International Space Station.

As the New York Times reported, the probe is first of its character.

McClain's spouse, Summer Worden, has accused her that she made unauthorized access to her bank account in the middle of their intense separation process. Further investigation revealed that Worden's bank account was accessed from a NASA-affiliated computer network. Summer Worden also claimed her soon-to-be former spouse committed identity theft.  

Worden's parents lodged a separate complaint saying that McClain accessed their daughter's bank account as a part of ''highly manipulated campaign'' to obtain custody of Worden's son. The boy was born I 2013, a year before the couple tied the knot.

NASA's Inspector General is now looking into the case.

Anne McClain, 40, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and a NASA astronaut, refuted the allegations Saturday, highlighting there was no truth to these claims. According to her tweet, she will not be commenting on the issue until the internal investigation concludes.

Asked to comment on the case, NASA said it praised McClain's career accomplishments and would not touch upon personal matters. 

McClain and Worden got married in 2014. They filed for divorce four years later, after McClain accused her of assault. Worden declined the allegations saying they were part of McClain's efforts to gain custody of her son. The case was dismissed.

McClain's lawyer, Rusty Hardin said that his client did access the bank account of her partner, but she had no second thoughts. In his words, McClain wanted to make sure there are enough funds in the bank to cover the bills and the boy's needs. Hardin pointed out that McClain was not aware that her former partner had requested to restrict her access to the bank account. 

Hardin asserted that his client was cooperating and declined all the allegations of wrongdoings. 

McClain, who graduated from the West Point Academy, joined the NASA's astronaut corps in 2013. Since then, she has spent 204 days in space. In addition to that, she also performed two spacewalks as a part of the Expedition 58/59 mission. Earlier this year, she was supposed to join her crewmate Christina Koch on the first all-female spacewalk at the space station. NASA canceled the plan as it turned out that the agency lacks appropriately-sized spacesuits for the two female astronauts.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree that if proven, it could be the first crime committed on the space station?