A NASA astronaut is accused of hacking her estranged spouse’s bank account from space.
Astronaut Anne McClain allegedly accessed the bank account of Summer Worden, while aboard the International Space Station this year, according to NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston.
The two women are in a custody battle over a 6-year-old son who was conceived through in vitro fertilization and who was carried by a surrogate, Worden told KPRC.
Worden said her son was a year old when she met McClain. The women got married three years into the relationship, but they later began having difficulties, Worden told the Houston outlet.
“I protect my son with everything I have. That is my No. 1 priority, but I didn’t sense at that time that she was anybody that I needed to protect him against. I trusted her,” said Worden, who according to The New York Times is a former Air Force intelligence officer living in Kansas.
In 2018, McClain asked a judge to grant her shared parenting rights of the child, saying in court documents that she had been “there for his first steps and first words” and that they had “a very healthy and deep parental relationship.”
In a previous interview with Today, McClain said she would speak with the boy via video call once a week during her time in space. According to NASA, McClain was launched to space on Dec. 3, 2018 and returned to Earth on June 24, 2019.
The court battle has included allegations that Worden assaulted McClain. The allegations were eventually dropped, and Worden says the two have never had a physical altercation, KPRC reported.
Then, earlier this year McClain allegedly accessed Worden’s bank account while the astronaut was in space.
Worden said her bank “did give evidence to my attorneys that she did access my bank accounts,” according to KPRC.
“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 said.
Wayne Dolcefino, Worden’s attorney, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Worden’s attorney formally complained to the NASA inspector general about the alleged breach, KPRC said.
An attorney representing McClain, Rusty Hardin, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hardin said in a statement to KPRC, “Family cases are extremely difficult and private matters for all parties involved. Neither Anne nor we will be commenting on this personal matter. We appreciate the media’s understanding and respect, as maintaining privacy, is in the best interest of the child and family members involved.”
He told The New York Times that McClain was merely checking the account to make sure the family’s finances were in order.
“She strenuously denies that she did anything improper,” Hardin said, adding that McClain continued using a password for the account she had used before and that she had never been informed by Worden that the account was off limits.
In a statement to NBC News, NASA described McClain as one of their top astronauts, adding that she “has an accomplished military career, flew combat missions in Iraq.”
“She did a great job on her most recent NASA mission aboard the International Space Station. Like with all NASA employees, NASA does not comment on personal or personnel matters,” the agency’s statement said.
Worden said the divorce between her and McClain is to be finalized in October and that no court date has been set in the custody case.