NASA investigating first alleged crime in space — report | News | DW | 24.08.2019
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NASA investigating first alleged crime in space — report

Astronaut Anne McClain has been accused of identity theft by her estranged wife. She allegedly accessed her partner's bank account from the International Space Station.

NASA is reportedly investigating the first ever report of a crime in space, relating to the divorce of an astronaut and her wife. According to The New York Times, decorated officer Anne McClain has been accused of illegally accessing her estranged partner's bank account while aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

McClain's wife, Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden, said she was "appalled" to realize that McClain appeared to be checking in on her spending habits.

Worden has accused McClain of identity theft.

The astronaut has refuted claims of any wrongdoing, saying she was just looking at aspects of the couple's finances, which are still connected, and that she had often looked at the account details with Worden's knowledge in the past.

McClain's lawyer Rusty Hardin told the Times that his client "strenuously denied that she did anything improper," and is "totally cooperating" with the inquiry into her possible wrongdoing.

First case of space crime?

There are long-established regulations in place to deal with possible jurisdiction issues aboard the ISS, set up by the space agencies who maintain it in the US, Russia, Canada, Japan, and the European Union, but this is believed to be the first time they may ever have to be implemented.

The pair appear to be having an acrimonious custody dispute over Worden's son, who was reportedly born after the pair met but Worden resisted letting McClain adopt the child.

But Worden may have trouble proving her case, as it is unlikely that NASA will open up its complex and highly secure computer systems for an investigation relating to a divorce settlement.

McClain had been due to take part in a much-touted all-female spacewalk earlier this year, which had to be canceled after NASA discovered it did not have enough of the correct spacesuits in sizes appropriate for women. Only 11% of the people who have been to space are women.

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