Published: Sun, August 25, 2019
Sci-tech | By Javier West

A NASA Astronaut's Divorce Has Sparked Claims of a Crime in Space

A NASA Astronaut's Divorce Has Sparked Claims of a Crime in Space

Nasa is reported to be investigating a claim that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station, in what may be the first allegation of a crime committed in space.

On noticing discrepancies in McClain's spending habits, her spouse Summer Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Instead, McClain claims she was doing what she has always done: checking her family's finances to ensure there were sufficient funds in the account to pay bills and care for the son that McClain and Worden have raised together.

It was after Worden filed for divorce when McClain accessed her bank records, which the astronaut said were still intertwined.

McClain and Worden had struggled over the child before, the New York Times report continued. The divorce continues, but according to McClain's statement to NASA's internal investigation, the couple's finances are not yet separated, leading to the bank account confusion.

Ms McClain, a decorated pilot, was a West Point graduate who flew more than 800 combat hours in Operation Iraqi Freedom before joining Nasa in 2013.

KPRC2 in Houston reported that Worden had a son prior to meeting McClain "conceived through in vitro fertilization carried by a surrogate".

McClain provided comments to the Times only through her lawyer, Rusty Hardin; NASA declined to comment to the Times about the incident.

McClain took Worden to court in 2018 to get shared parenting rights after accusing the boy's mother of having a temper and making poor financial decisions but Worden filed for divorce after now-pictures of her son and McClain were posted to her Twitter. "She did a great job on her most recent NASA mission aboard the International Space Station", NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean wrote in an email.

She returned to earth on board the Soyuz MS-11 on 24 June 2019 alongside Canadian David Saint-Jacques and Russian Oleg Kononenko.

She was about to be part of Nasa's first all-female spacewalk (she was later dropped).

US, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada who own the space station have an agreed respective legal framework that would apply to people and possessions in space.

NASA officials told the Times that they did not know of any crimes that had been committed on the ISS.

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