Washington: Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of illegally accessing her estranged wife Summer Worden's private financial records when she was on a sixth-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), reported New York Times.

This is the first investigation of the crime committed in outer space as NASA is probing the matter.

McClain's estranged wife Worden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year accusing McClain of accessing her bank account without permission. Her family filed a case with NASA's Office of Inspector General with same charges against McClain.

McClain is also accused of identity theft that she is supposed to have used to gain access to Worden's bank account details.

However, McClain's lawyer has stated that her client had accessed the bank records while aboard in the ISS in order to monitor the couple's combined finances. She had done this over the course of their relationship.

NASA investigators have contacted both McClain and Worden and are probing the matter.

McClain 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. This had sparked accusations of sexism.

Worden said that an investigator specialising in criminal cases with NASA's Office of Inspector General has been looking into the case.