Another LGBTQ-Led First, Though Not a Great One: NASA Astronaut Accused of Identity Theft While in Space

The International Space Station, seen shortly after de-docking. / Image via NASA

Queer people consistently break new ground, setting novel trends and serving as the origin of . pop-culture moments. Sadly, new ground was broken when a NASA astronaut was accused this week of being the first person, gay or not, to commit a crime – in space. 

As USA Today reported this weekend, 

NASA [officials] are reportedly investigating an allegation that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from space, which may be the first allegation of a crime committed in space.

Anne McClain, a decorated astronaut who was once set to be part of NASA’s first all-female spacewalk, allegedly accessed Summer Worden’s bank account while on a six- month mission aboard the International Space Station.

(McClain and Worden married five years ago, but the latter filed for divorce in 2018. McClain has also “unequivocally” denied the allegations, saying “she had accessed the account, but insisted that she [only] did so to ensure the family’s finances were in order,” according to USA Today.)

NASA has assumed control of the investigation and, as USA Today notes, U.S. law governs the case. The federal space agency “declined to comment on personal or personnel matters involving employees,” though it praised Lt. Col. McClain’s service in a separate statement

The First-Ever Space Crime?

Twitter quickly lit up over recent days as users debated whether this was the first-ever alleged “space crime.” More to the point, it would also mean a member of the LGBTQ+ community (again, allegedly) was first to do so.

#SpaceLaw Twitter, a niche circle of legal professionals and commentators, was also abuzz, but offered far less-cheeky takes on the news.

It’s an undeniably weird case, one which remains ongoing through governmental investigations and divorce proceedings. It’s also a very sad case, as the couple had been raising a child together and, evidently, experienced a rapidly devolving, acrimonious relationship before these allegations became public.

Between the raging fires in the Amazon Rainforest, volatile global markets and the sudden cooling of U.S-Danish relations over the (for now, thwarted) purchase of Greenland, it’s been a sad, weird week all in all.

You can read more about the alleged space crime, via USA Today, below.

(Source: USA Today)

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