A lesbian astronaut has been accused of hacking her former spouse's bank account from outer space in what is being described as the first criminal act committed in space.
Anne C. McClain, a U.S. Army major and pilot, is accused of accessing Summer Worden's bank account from a computer terminal on board the International Space Station.
Worden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission during a yearlong divorce and child custody dispute. Worden's parents also filed a complaint, accusing McClain, 34, of identity theft and unauthorized access to their daughter's bank account, according to the NY Times.
Worden was surprised that McClain seemed to know about her spending habits (How could you afford to buy that car?).
Worden, a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, asked her bank to identify the locations of computers using her personal login to access her bank account. The bank told her one computer was registered to NASA.
"I was pretty appalled that she would go that far. I knew it was not OK," Worden told KPRC.
When Worden's bank account was accessed, McClain was on the International Space Station. She returned to earth in June after a 6 month mission in space.
Through her attorney, McClain admitted accessing Worden's bank account on multiple occasions - but only to keep track of their intermingled funds and to make sure there was sufficient money to pay the bills and care for Worden's son, attorney Rusty Hardin said. No money was transferred or withdrawn.
McClain denied any wrongdoing in a statement. "She strenuously denies that she did anything improper," said Hardin, who added that the astronaut "is totally cooperating" with the investigation.
Worden said McClain accessed her bank account to gain evidence to use against her in a bitter custody dispute involving her son who they were raising together.
Worden said the 6-year-old boy was conceived through in vitro fertilization and carried by a surrogate. "He is mine biologically, I had him all by myself."
She said she met McClain in 2014 after her son turned 1. They tied the knot that same year. But things got rocky three years into their relationship.
In 2018, McClain asked a judge to grant her shared parenting rights. A year later she accused Worden of assaulting her. The assault case was later dismissed for lack of evidence.
The first all-female spacewalk, scheduled for March 29, 2019 was cancelled. NASA says McClain's criminal investigation was not a factor in its decision to cancel the all-women space walk.
NASA maintains it is unaware of any crime that occurred on the space station.