Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and illegally using her estranged spouse’s private financial records while on a six-month mission in the outer space aboard the International Space Station. This is being reported as potentially the first-ever criminal case committed in space. However, McClain came on Twitter on Sunday and denied the claims saying, “There’s unequivocally no truth to these claims.”

McClain and her wife, Summer Worden headed for a split last year. Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer who lives in Kansas, and McClain are embroiled in an unfortunate divorce tussle. It involves a parenting dispute over Worden’s 6-year-old son, whom McClain was helping to raise before their split, the New York Times reported.  Both met for the first time in 2014 when the son was only a year old.

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Worden has claimed that McClain, who returned to Earth in June, always kept track of her financial details. This is why she got her bank to check who accessed her account in the recent past. The bank found out that Worden’s account was accessed from a NASA computer network

“I was shocked and appalled at the audacity by her to think that she could get away with that, and I was very disheartened that I couldn’t keep anything private,” Worden told NBC News.

NASA’s inspector general interrogated McClain over this in which she revealed that she did access Worden’s account from space but that was only to ensure Worden had enough money to pay the bills as she always has, using a password she’s had for some time. However, she denied doing anything improper with it. “She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” said her lawyer, Rusty Hardin, who said the astronaut “is totally cooperating.”

“I was shocked and appalled at the audacity by her to think that she could get away with that, and I was very disheartened that I couldn’t keep anything private”

She also said in her tweet, “We’ve been going through a painful, personal separation that’s now unfortunately in the media. I appreciate the outpouring of support and will reserve comment until after the investigation. I have total confidence in the IG process.”

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This entire case also gave away the fact that McClain is also reportedly the first acknowledged gay astronaut. Before the unravelling of the divorce case and the tussle, McClain never publicly accepted her relationship with Worden. She also never came out as a lesbian.

She was part of NASA’s first all-female spacewalk in March before it was cancelled for a lack of properly fitting spacesuits. This cancellation of plans by NASA sparked accusations of sexism against the space organisation.

McClain worked as combat personnel, Lieutenant Colonel, in the US Army before becoming an astronaut. She attended the astronaut programme in 2013 and is being considered by NASA as their first choice of a woman to be sent to the Moon.

Picture credit: NASA

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