https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=pUuXo1IWhd10Ug
logo
NASA may be investigating space crime allegation
August 24, 2019 | 7:13 PM
by Agencies
Supplied photo.
 
Sharelines

New York City: American space agency 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.

Anne McClain acknowledges accessing the account from the ISS but denies any wrongdoing, according to reports by an American newspaper.

Her estranged spouse, Summer Worden, reportedly filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

McClain has since returned to Earth.



The astronaut told a local newspaper through a lawyer that she was merely making sure that the family's finances were in order and there was enough money to pay bills and care for her son - who they had been raising together prior to the split.

"She strenuously denies that she did anything improper," said her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, adding that McClain was "totally co-operating".



McClain and Worden, who is an Air Force intelligence officer, married in 2014 and Worden filed for divorce in 2018. Investigators from NASA's Office of Inspector General have contacted both over the allegation, according to reports.

McClain graduated from the prestigious West Point military academy and flew more than 800 combat hours over Iraq as an Army pilot. She went on to qualify as a test pilot and was chosen to fly for NASA in 2013.

She spent six months aboard the ISS and had been due to feature in the first all-female spacewalk, but her role was cancelled at the last minute over what NASA said was a problem with availability of correct suit sizes.

There are five national or international space agencies involved in the ISS - from the US, Canada, Japan, Russia and several European countries - and a legal framework sets out that national law applies to any people and possessions in space.

So if a Canadian national were to commit a crime in space, they would be subject to Canadian law, and a Russian citizen to Russian law.

Space law also sets out provisions for extradition back on Earth, should a nation decide it wishes to prosecute a citizen of another nation for misconduct in space.

As space tourism becomes a reality, so might the need to prosecute space crime, but for now the legal framework remains untested. NASA officials told reporters that they were not aware of any crimes committed on the space station.



STAY UPDATED
Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news