Published: Aug 17, 2010 10:44 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 17, 2010 7:44 PM EDT

HOUSTON (AP) - A former NASA contract employee has pleaded guilty to stealing machine equipment and a space flight suit worn by the first U.S. female astronaut in space.

The U.S. Attorney's Office statement issued Tuesday said 56-year-old Calvin Smith faces up to 10 years in prison and up to
$250,000 in fines at his sentencing scheduled for November.

Smith had been charged with having stolen and concealed property belonging to NASA.

The flight suit bearing the name patch Sally Ride for the first U.S. woman astronaut in space is valued at more than $1,000. The machine parts Smith admitted stealing are worth around $7,400. 

Smith's estranged wife contacted authorities after finding the items in a suitcase.