NASA is reportedly investigating allegations that an astronaut “improperly” accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse while in space.
If proven, it would be the first case of criminal activity from space in US history.
Friday, accused NASA astronaut Anne McClain told investigators she accessed her spouse’s bank account aboard the International Space Station (ISS) but denied any claims of misconduct.
The 6-month exploration was in preparation for NASA’s first all-female spacewalk, The New York Times reports.
In a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden accused McClain of committing identity theft but noted that she did not notice any changes to her funds.
Worden’s parents later brought a second complaint to NASA’s Office of Inspector General, alleging McClain “improperly” accessed the private financial records as part of a “highly calculated and manipulative campaign” to win custody of Worden’s son.
Rusty Hardin, McClain’s lawyer, told The Times that “she strenuously denies that she did anything improper” and “is totally cooperating,” with the investigation.
McClain and her attorney both confirmed she had accessed her wife’s account from space.
Hardin cited McClain was monitoring the account out of concern for Worden’s son, who the two had been raising together before they split.
McClain accessed the account by using the password they had set for it during their relationship, Hardin said.
The allegations come in the wake of a messy divorce.
McClain and Worden separated in 2018 after McClain accused her spouse of nearly four years of assault.
Worden denied assaulting McClain, and the case was later dismissed.
Worden did not discover the hack to her bank account until a few months after the assault claim.
By that time, McClain had already gone to space.
NASA has reportedly spoken to both women as they continue to investigate the matter.
NASA told The NYT the allegations against McClain did not play a role in the agency’s decision to cancel the historic spacewalk.
Adding, that the agency had not been aware of any alleged crimes committed on the ISS at that time.