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Boeing sues Virgin Galactic

April 2, 2024

By Chris Forrester

Aerospace giant Boeing is suing Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture Virgin Galactic, alleging unpaid invoices and the misappropriation of Boeing-owned trade secrets and IP.

Boeing is suing via its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, and its writ states that Virgin has not paid $26.4 million in invoices for work related to the development of a new ‘mothership’ aircraft intended to power Virgin’s next-generation suborbital space planes. The suit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on March 21st.

Virgin Galactic responded by saying that the action was baseless in fact and law and that it would defend itself vigorously.

The history behind the claim is that Virgin – and Aurora – designed the new mothership for the tourism project to replace Virgin’s ‘EVE’ vehicle (named after Branson’s mother). The Virgin-Aurora contract reportedly called for the delivery of two suborbital vehicles and which would be delivered in 2025.

“Aurora concluded that it would not be possible for Virgin Galactic to produce the new Mothership Virgin Galactic wanted, on the budget available to it, on the timeline Virgin Galactic hoped to meet,” the suit states.

Boeing and Aurora allege that almost $26.4 million in invoices from the two orders remain unpaid by Virgin Galactic. The companies said multiple requests have been made to Virgin to pay the outstanding invoices but “have been unable to resolve the dispute.”

The IP allegation says that Virgin has failed to destroy trade secrets and proprietary materials supplied by Aurora.

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