SSL lawsuit against Orbital ATK to move forward


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A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by SSL against Orbital ATK, two companies competing for satellite servicing work, can go forward.

The case stems a December 2016 incident where NASA officials notified SSL that there had been unauthorized access to SSL documents related to a NASA “Tipping Point” technology development award on a server at the Langley Research Center. SSL had received that award earlier in the year to work on technologies related to in-space satellite servicing.

That unauthorized access was traced to an Orbital ATK employee, who was subsequently fired by the company. However, SSL said in its suit that as many as six Orbital ATK employees viewed the documents. SSL filed the suit in March 2017 seeking an injunction to prevent Orbital ATK from using any of those documents in its own projects, as well as “other and further relief the Court may deem just and appropriate.”

Both companies have satellite servicing missions planned. What I want is for both to succeed, to provide some competition in the field. Though I suspect this is doubtful, this lawsuit has the possibiliity of killing Orbital ATK’s effort.

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