ULA reveals Chinese-owned company attempted to steal rocket data


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In an interview yesterday ULA’s CEO Tory Bruno revealed that a Chinese-owned software company tried to infiltrate the supply chain being set up to build their next generation Vulcan rocket.

Bruno said the Chinese-owned vendor identified in ULA’s supply chain was a provider of software for tools used to manufacture the company’s next-generation rocket Vulcan Centaur. Because the issue was detected quickly, no sensitive information was extracted by that supplier, Bruno said.

The company flagged as a risk was a tool supplier working with KUKA Robotics. According to ULA, KUKA had no access to ULA’s intellectual property. “ULA envisions no further future work involving KUKA or KUKA products,” the spokesperson said. “There was no evidence they attempted to obtain data, however, we have an obligation to our customers as well as our company to ensure we have taken all necessary steps to protect our IP as well as information the government has entrusted us with.”

The Pentagon has shown growing concern about Chinese ownership of U.S. suppliers and continues to impose cybersecurity requirements on contractors. “But I have to tell you this is just shocking in terms of the scale and ubiquity of this threat and this effort on the part of China to not only gain access to intellectual property through traditional means — hacking or espionage — but through infiltration of the supply chain,” Bruno said.

The article also notes that while the top tier subcontractors ULA might hire are almost all American owned, foreign companies own 70% of the smaller subvendors, and the number of Chinese-owned subvendors has grown 420% since 2010.

China’s effort to steal American technology has been a serious problem that has been ignored for too long.

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5 comments

  • commodude

    Of course it’s been ignored, they’ve been lining the pockets of politicians for at least 3 decades.

  • Ray Van Dune

    So how many years do you figure stealing ULA technology will set them back?

  • sippin_bourbon

    I always assumed that it was a given that the ChiComs are always trying to lie, cheat and steal their way to keep up with technology.

    “Wait till someone invents something, then steal it, make it cheaper and faster, make money to fund the stealing of more stuff, repeat”.

    This has been their MO for decades. When are people going to wake up that this is what they are going to do, everytime, all the time.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Very interesting. Especially as SpaceX uses Kuka robots at Boca Chica.

  • Jeff Wright

    Ray Van Dune—- what a great jest

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