Washington: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is reportedly investigating the first-ever report of a crime in space, relating to the divorce of an astronaut and her wife.
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, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission after she realized that her estranged spouse had accessed her bank account while the two were locked in a bitter battle over divorce and custody. Worden’s parents, meanwhile, filed a letter with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, accusing McClain of carrying out a “highly calculated and manipulative campaign” to win custody of Worden’s child.
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.
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.
McClain and Worden got married in 2014 and Worden filed for divorce in 2018. The divorce papers were filed after McClain accused Worden of assault, which Worden portrayed as the latest move in a long-standing effort by McClain to gain custody of her son.
The pair appear to be having an acrimonious custody dispute over Worden’s son.
Worden’s son was born a year before the pair even met and she reportedly pushed back against McClain’s efforts to adopt the child.
Meanwhile, McClain also posted official NASA photos on her Twitter account showing her alongside Worden’s son, describing leaving him behind as the hardest part of being an astronaut.
McClain was supposed to be part of what had been a much anticipated first all-female spacewalk.
NASA later scrapped those plans as 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.