Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Virgin Galactic fires back at Boeing over failed mothership deal

Virgin Galactic fires back at Boeing over failed mothership deal
Virgin Galactic is suing Boeing over their broken partnership on a space tourism project, arguing that the disputed trade secrets were "rightfully transferred" to its control under terms of its contract. (Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Virgin Galactic has escalated a legal battle with Boeing over their broken partnership on a space tourism project.

Two weeks after Boeing took Richard Branson’s company to court in Virginia, Virgin Galactic fired back on Thursday with a complaint in Los Angeles, saying that “poor quality control and mismanagement” at the plane maker was what sank the joint effort to develop a so-called Mothership jet carrier.

Virgin Galactic’s suit adds to the mounting allegations of mismanagement and shoddy work at Boeing, which recently announced that CEO Dave Calhoun would be stepping down at the end of the year.

Virgin Galactic hired Boeing in 2022 to help design several aspects of its Mothership program, including avionics, design, flight physics, propulsion and stress engineering. The companies stopped working together a year later.

Virgin Galactic was accused in the original suit of illegally continuing to use trade secrets that Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences unit had shared with it.

Read More: Boeing Asks Court to Block Virgin Galactic From Using Its Data

In the new suit, Virgin Galactic argues that the disputed trade secrets were “rightfully transferred” to its control under terms of its contract. Branson’s company alleges that Boeing failed repeatedly to live up to its end of their agreement despite being paid more than $45-million for its services.

“Boeing repeatedly provided shoddy and incomplete work products to Virgin Galactic that were so deficient that, in at least one instance, Boeing agreed that it needed to start over completely with its work,” according to the complaint.

Boeing didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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