Virgin Galactic Accuses Boeing of ‘Shoddy’ Work in Its Countersuit Over Failed Agreement

Virgin Galactic Accuses Boeing of ‘Shoddy’ Work in Its Countersuit Over Failed Agreement

Virgin Galactic has responded to Boeing’s lawsuit, which accuses the company of retaining its trade secrets. In response, Virgin Galactic has filed a lawsuit of its own, blaming Boeing for repeated failures that ultimately led to the termination of their commercial partnership.

Richard Branson’s private space venture is countersuing Boeing over an agreement to develop Virgin Galactic’s next generation mothership. The company filed its own lawsuit on Thursday in a Los Angeles federal court, nearly two weeks after Boeing asked a federal judge in Virginia to issue a court order blocking Virgin Galactic from further using proprietary data that was shared between the two companies as part of an agreement in 2022.

In July 2022, Virgin Galactic announced an agreement with Aurora, Boeing’s Virginia-based subsidiary, to design and manufacture its next generation mothership. The mothership is used as part of the company’s ongoing suborbital space tourism trips, carrying a spaceplane with passengers on board and releasing it at an altitude of 44,500 feet (13,500 meters) above the ground.

The agreement, however, fell through, and both companies are apparently salty about it. Boeing is accusing Virgin Galactic of “retaining, using, and threatening further use of trade secrets” that belong to the company. On the other hand, Virgin Galactic is claiming that Boeing repeatedly failed to deliver on its contractural obligations and “provided shoddy and incomplete work,” according to the lawsuit.

“Boeing is now attempting to wrongfully claw back certain intellectual property duly owned or licensed to Virgin Galactic under the parties’ contract,” Virgin Galactic wrote in its complaint. The company also claims that it is entitled to damages derived from the $45 million that it had already paid to Boeing to develop the next-generation mothership.

Boeing has come under heat lately for a host of safety issues and scandals. In January, a door plug blew off a Boeing 737 during an Alaska Airlines flight 16,000 feet over Portland, Oregon. Later in March, John Barnett, a former quality control engineer at Boeing who had just testified against the company as part of a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit, was found dead. Its long delayed Starliner spacecraft, after years of delays due to technical issues, is finally set to fly in early May.

“Boeing’s failures with respect to its agreement with Virgin Galactic are consistent with Boeing’s record of poor quality control and mismanagement,” Virgin Galactic wrote in its lawsuit.

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