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Satellite builder Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) is suing Washington-based Orbital ATK in an action that alleges breach of confidentiality. According to a filing made at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, SS/L alleges that it has been notified by NASA that an employee of rival satellite builder Orbital ATK illegally accessed SS/L documents being held at the NASA Research Centre in Langley, Virginia.
SS/L has a contract with NASA for work on the space agency’s Dragonfly project, which is focussed on the in-orbit servicing of orbiting satellites.
SS/L is alleging that the Orbital staffer accessed plans and technical information, all of which were stated to be SS/L proprietary property. The lawsuit argues that possession of the documents would be a “treasure trove” to any competitor.
Orbit ATK, in its rebuttal, says that the unnamed individual had since been dismissed. SS/L alleges that up to six Orbital employees accessed the documents and data.
It seems the Orbital ATK employees were also working at NASA Langley at the same time by accessing the files being held on the NASA computer system.
Both SS/L and Orbital ATK are separately working on projects that involve possible in-orbit servicing of communications and military satellites.