Posted: February 15, 2017 at 6:45 am
A private space company is suing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for allegedly taking an idea and giving it to a foreign-owned competitor.
Orbital ATK accused DARPA, which develops military technology, of giving its business plan to repair satellites to Space Systems Loral (SSL), a company-based in California but registered as foreign-owned. Orbital ATK says handing business plans to SSL violates U.S. policy.
DARPA entered into a commercial partnership with Space Systems Loral (SSL) to take advantage of its Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program to capture, re-position, and repair satellites in orbit. DARPA plans to buy future RSGS services from SSL, despite it being a Bermuda-based company.
Orbital ATK has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in response to DARPAs apparent decision to continue pursuing a program that violates long-standing principles of the U.S. National Space Policy, wastes taxpayer funds, and benefits a foreign-owned corporation, VickiCox, a spokesperson for Orbital ATK, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Orbital ATK is already investing its own private capital to develop in-space satellite servicing that includes satellite life extension, to be followed by robotic in-space repair and assembly capabilities.
Last year, Orbital ATK unveiled a similar satellite servicing business which will have to compete directly with the DARPA initiative. The U.S. company says it already has its first private customer and that this makes DARPAs actions unabashedly unfair and anti-competitive.
This could be a violation of the US National Space Policywhich requiresthat the government not build or buy systems that preclude, discourage or compete with commercial systems. The U.S. company claims that they have already invested in the satellite repair and refueling business. Orbital ATKs lawsuit says this means that DARPA interfered in a developing market in defiance of stated U.S. policy.
The U.S. National Space Policy explicitly directs government agencies to avoid funding activities that are already in development in the commercial marketplace, Cox continued. Orbital ATK will continue to pursue all available options to oppose DARPA from moving forward with this illegal and wasteful use of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
SSLclaims it has also already made asubstantial investment in the RSGS program and that DARPA deliberately chose them to ensure the services would be available far into the future. SSL will take over DARPAs RSGS satellite after a nine-month demonstration mission.
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Private Space Company Suing US Gov’t For Stealing Their Idea … – Daily Caller
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