Top NASA astronaut Anne McClain has been accused by her estranged wife of attempting to steal her identity from the International Space Station, which could be the first alleged crime in space.
McClain and her wife Summer Worden have been in the midst of a divorce battle since last year, as well as a custody battle over the child they had been raising together.
According to the New York Times, Worden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and her family filed another with the NASA Office of Inspector General, accusing McClain of identity theft and improper access of Worden’s bank account while she was on a six-month mission on the International Space Station.
Back on Earth, McClain did an interview with the NASA’s inspector general under oath last week, and insisted that by accessing Worden’s bank account she was checking on the family finances as she had always done with Worden’s permission and knowledge.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain denies committing a crime
The astronaut’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, told the New York Times: “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” and he said said McClain “is totally cooperating” with investigations.
Hardin also said that she had used the same password she had always used to access the bank account, and had never heard from her wife that she no longer had permission to log in.
Director of the Global Space Law Center at Cleveland State University Mark Sundahl told the New York Times that he was not aware of any previous crimes committed in space, and NASA officials said they were not aware of any crimes committed on the International Space Station.
A statement from NASA provided for KPRC said: “NASA has no statement on this and does not comment on personal or personnel matters. Anne McClain is an active astronaut.”
A contest was announced this year to send the first openly LGBT+ astronaut into space. According to the New York Post, McClain has never publicly spoken about her sexuality, and her marriage to Worden only became public knowledge during the legal issues with their divorce.