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US space agency Nasa is investigating what may be the first crime committed in outer space, “The New York Times” reported on Saturday.
Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife's private financial records while on a sixth-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the “Times” said.
The astronaut's spouse Summer Worden filed a complaint earlier this year with the Federal Trade Commission after learning McClain had accessed her bank account without permission, while Worden's family filed another with Nasa's Office of Inspector General, according to the newspaper.
McClain's lawyer said the astronaut had done nothing wrong and accessed the bank records while aboard the ISS in order to monitor the couple's combined finances — something she had done over the course of their relationship, the Times reported.
Nasa investigators have contacted both women, according to the newspaper.
McClain, who returned to Earth in June, gained fame for being one of two women picked for a historic all-female spacewalk, but Nasa scrapped the planned walk in March due to a lack of well-fitting spacesuits, sparking accusations of sexism.
Worden said the FTC has not responded to the identity theft report, but that an investigator specialising in criminal cases with Nasa’s Office of Inspector General has been looking into the accusation, according to the Times.
A Falcon rocket raced into the pre-dawn darkness, carrying a Dragon capsule with 5,500 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of goods. This recycled Dragon — which is making its second space trip — is due to arrive at the orbiting lab on Monday.
High winds and choppy seas in the area where the spacecraft was expected to splashdown on Saturday delayed the dramatic inflight test of the unmanned astronaut capsule to Sunday, with a longer six-hour launch window starting at 8am (EST).
An unmanned spacecraft carrying Russia’s first humanoid robot to be sent into orbit successfully docked at the International Space Station on Tuesday,
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