Has anyone, in any jurisdiction, ever been charged with a crime for acts (allegedly) committed in outer space?


2 Answers 2



This first allegation (in 2020) turned out to be false and no charges were brought against the space-faring person.

As far as I can tell, no charges or even allegations of criminality have been raised since.


The New York Times reported:

NASA Astronaut Anne McClain Accused by Spouse of Crime in Space

[Update Aug. 27, 2020: An investigation subsequently cleared the astronaut Anne McClain of wrongdoing...

Ms. McClain acknowledged that she had accessed the bank account from space, insisting through a lawyer that she was merely shepherding the couple’s still-intertwined finances. Ms. Worden felt differently. She filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and her family lodged one with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, accusing Ms. McClain of identity theft and improper access to Ms. Worden’s private financial records.

However Wikipedia states

Space jurisdiction, a field addressing what countries can enforce various laws in space, has become more important as the private sector enters the field of space tourism. Under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, while space and celestial bodies cannot be appropriated by nations, objects launched into space and personnel on board them remain under the jurisdiction of the state of registry.
As of 2023, no person from any country is known to have been charged with (let alone convicted of) a crime committed in space.

Furthermore, there is only one known instance of a formal complaint alleging a crime committed from space, which involved a non-space traveling complainant who was the estranged spouse of the accused astronaut. The ensuing investigation exonerated the astronaut and instead resulted in an indictment against the original complainant for making false statements to authorities.


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