'First crime in space' subject of probe

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 26 Aug 2019

What may be the first crime committed in outer space is being investigated by US space agency NASA.

Astronaut Anne McClain, 40, has been accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife's private financial records while on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station, according to the The New York Times.

The astronaut's spouse, Summer Worden, filed a complaint earlier this year with the US Federal Trade Commission after learning McClain accessed her bank account without permission. And Worden's family filed another complaint with NASA.

McClain's lawyer responded by saying the astronaut had done nothing wrong, arguing she accessed the bank records while aboard the ISS in order to monitor the couple's combined finances - something she had done over the course of their relationship. NASA investigators have contacted both women, The Times says.

McClain, who returned to Earth in June, gained fame for being one of two women picked for a historic all-female spacewalk, but NASA scrapped the planned walk in March due to a lack of well-fitting spacesuits, sparking accusations of sexism.

Worden, a former US Air Force intelligence officer, said the FTC has not responded to the identity theft report but that an investigator specializing in criminal cases with NASA's Office of Inspector General has been looking into the case.

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