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Space Science

SpaceX Sues Valador For Defamation 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the If-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Looks like aerospace consulting firm Valador tried to bite off more than it can chew. After already having bagged lucrative 'safety review' contracts with SpaceX' competitors, it tried to sell its services to SpaceX as well. However, according to SpaceX' claims in a recent court filing, Valador tried to juice up their sales pitch by first spreading rumors at key NASA offices that SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is 'unsafe', and then generously offering its services to SpaceX to aid them with addressing any undeserved bias against them among NASA officials. In true California fashion (being the most litigious state of the nation), SpaceX is having none of that and is taking Valador to court for defamation, seeking damages identical to the value of the consulting contract Valador tried to sell to them." CT: It appears that the link in this story has disappeared. If you can find something better, post it.
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SpaceX Sues Valador For Defamation

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  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:22AM (#36496954)

    This seems like a clear cut cases of defamation. Intentionally spreading malicious rumors, and then offering to clean up those same rumors for a price is pretty low, and if Valador is guilty, they absolutely should be sued.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday June 20, 2011 @05:42AM (#36498048) Journal

      This seems like a clear cut cases of defamation. Intentionally spreading malicious rumors, and then offering to clean up those same rumors for a price is pretty low, and if Valador is guilty, they absolutely should be sued.

      "That's a nice launch vehicle you've got there. It'd be a real pity if NASA were to believe that it tends to catch fire..."

    • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Monday June 20, 2011 @05:42AM (#36498050)

      Low is a good word for it. This isn't business, it's like an ambulance running down people to make hospitals more profitable.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      The submitter's political slant, of course.

    • I challenge anyone to say that a tiny little compartment sitting on top of a gigantic tube of high combustible fuel which is intentionally ignited is actually safe!

      Let's not forget additional issues such as the fact such as it being basically a cylinder with tiny little fits on its ass end being shot up at insane speeds into the extremely unfriendly atmosphere of the earth, later to then reenter at even more insane speeds that damn near engulfing the returning capsule with flames caused by drag against... A
      • I challenge anyone to say that a tiny little compartment sitting on top of a gigantic tube of high combustible fuel which is intentionally ignited is actually safe!

        It's safe.

      • by danlip (737336)

        "Safe" is a relative term. Yes, going into space is dangerous. Yes there will be fatal accidents. Cars and airplanes have fatal accidents too. Space travel will always be more dangerous than cars or airplanes. But you can certainly be safer than the space shuttle - which is a very low bar to pass. And you can certainly be more or less safe than your competitors.

      • by MaDeR (826021)
        Launching rockets is not very safe in general. But some rockets can be safer than other rockets.
  • Everyone believes your product is crap...
    ... because we told them that.

    You need better PR and management.
    We can suggest a company.

    lol

    -AI

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:23AM (#36496962)

    SpaceX vs. Valador: The Price of Success

    When I arrived at work this morning, I found this gem of news in my inbox. I have no personal knowledge of what happened and nothing to add to the article - but I think it pretty much speaks for itself:

    Quote 1:

    Early in June 2011, on behalf of Valador, Fragola attempted to obtain a consulting contract from SpaceX worth as much as $1 million. He claimed that SpaceX needed an ‘independent’ analysis of its rocket to bolster its reputation with NASA based on what he called an unfair ‘perception’ about SpaceX. SpaceX did not respond favorably to Fragola’s offer.

    Quote 2:

    Fragola sent this email to a NASA official on June 8: “I have just heard a rumor [] that the Falcon 9 experienced a double engine failure in the first stage and that the entire stage blew up just after the first stage separated.”

    Quote 3:

    “Fragola’s statements are blatantly false [] there was not ‘double-engine’ failure, nor even a single engine failure. The launch was broadcast by a camera on the Dragon spacecraft, which vividly showed the separation of the first stage - and no explosion occurred.”

    Some of us are in this because we want to see humanity making children in space as soon as possible; others are because they want to line their pockets as much as possible. I’ll leave it up to you to decide who falls into which category.

    Posted on Friday, June 17 2011. Tagged with: spaceSpaceX

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Some of us are in this because we want to see humanity making children in space

      So... how much did the porn industry invest in SpaceX?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Apparently not enough to get the SpaceX to change the fourth letter in its name.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by c0lo (1497653)

        Some of us are in this because we want to see humanity making children in space

        So... how much did the porn industry invest in SpaceX?

        Only 1/3 of the necessary.. still 2 x-es to go.

      • by macraig (621737)

        TFA didn't actually say that: the children phrase was apparently added by the GP poster... for some reason.

    • by MaDeR (826021)
      "Falcon 9 experienced a double engine failure in the first stage and that the entire stage blew up just after the first stage separated.”
      Funny that I did not seen that in live feed of any F9 launch. And I watched them multiple times. Must be this SpaceX kool aid.
      I will not even mention little details like telemetry, feedback and that NASA can indepedently detect when something blows up, thankyouverymuch...
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:33AM (#36497016)

    Who the heck is Valador, and why do they think they have so much experience in space technologies that they can sell advices to other players in the field?

    NASA doing that I could understand (I mean you know, they have nothing else to do these days, and if anybody knows about blowing space vehicles, it's them), but "Valador"?

  • by crankyspice (63953) on Monday June 20, 2011 @01:58AM (#36497106)

    The lawsuit was brought in Virginia. http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/06/16/Space.pdf [courthousenews.com]...

  • Very fast lawyers (Score:4, Informative)

    by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Monday June 20, 2011 @02:06AM (#36497144) Journal

    First, note that all we have so far is an allegation. Although we tend to like SpaceX around here, Valador are currently only accused scum, not confirmed scum.

    Second, the alleged defamation occurred on June 8 2011. courthousenews.com reports on the suit on June 16. So that is offence to suit in about a week!

    • So what? You think SpaceX should wait till the next moon landing?
    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday June 20, 2011 @03:05AM (#36497394) Homepage

      If SpaceX is convinced Valador was using something akin to extortion tactics on them, they should act immediately in order to stop the lies from spreading any further. And why would they wait anyway?

      • by Serpents (1831432)
        I suppose getting their lawyers to sit together, see if they can make a case of available evidence and put the documents for the court together can take some time. A week perhaps?
    • by torgis (840592)

      First, note that all we have so far is an allegation. Although we tend to like SpaceX around here, Valador are currently only accused scum, not confirmed scum.

      Second, the alleged defamation occurred on June 8 2011. courthousenews.com reports on the suit on June 16. So that is offence to suit in about a week!

      Civil system seems to move fast and the whole process is greased with money. A criminal case wouldn't see the courts for a year or more.

      • Civil system seems to move fast and the whole process is greased with money. A criminal case wouldn't see the courts for a year or more.

        Isn't filing suit more of a parallel to arrest in the criminal courts? That generally happens as soon as incriminating evidence is found.

    • The Falcon 9 isn't safe. But then again I doubt that any rocket will ever be "safe". It will be a long time before you strap a human into any thing that then goes from 0 to 18,000+ MPH and well over 100 miles up in anything that a reasonable person calls safe. Space travel is not safe or fool proof. Heck the only reason that we can strap people in to aluminum tubes and fly them around at 500+mph and 7 plus miles up and make it reasonable safe is around 100 years of mistakes and many many flights.
      Of course V

      • by gknoy (899301)

        I thought the Falcon 9 was intended for heavy lift, not for human transport?

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Yes and no. Yes it is intended for medium and heavy lift but it is also man rated like the Titan III was and the Saturn V.
          You know they flew the Dragon Capsule on it didn't you? They Titan III was supposed to be used for the X-20 and the MOLE as well as other projects. It was supposed to replace the Saturn Ib for a lot of manned leo missions. It could have been used to resupply are even expand Skylab had it been funded.
          The Saturn V flew a few times unmanned and was used to launch Skylab.
          I still wonder what

          • Titan III was never man-rated. Gemini-Titan was a Titan II derivative.
            I don't believe that Falcon9 has been man-rated yet.

            • by LWATCDR (28044)

              I am pretty sure that TitanIIIc was actually man rated or was in the process to be. http://www.airliners.net/uf/44100/phpX0sCIF.jpeg [airliners.net]
              Is a picture of it flying the one and only Gemini/MOLE test fight. Since it was supposed to be manned I would say it was manned rated or well on the way to be.
              The Falcon9 was built to be man rated from the start has it passed yet? I am not sure about that but that is the intention.

            • by Coz (178857)

              Correct. Falcon 9 was designed to be man-rated, but SpaceX isn't spending the money to jump through NASA's hoops until they have more of a hope of a contract for human launch services. Man rating is a high enough hurdle that LM and Boeing have refrained from man rating the Delta IV or Atlas V on their own nickels.

  • by 0WaitState (231806) on Monday June 20, 2011 @02:33AM (#36497260)
    Um, last time I looked California is the most populous state in the nation. This submitter claim is as bogus as those who try to claim the 9th district court is somehow biased because it decides more cases of X (fill in bias here), while ignoring that it represents most states west of the rockies.

    Full quote from interestingly slanted summary:

    In true California fashion (being the most litigious state of the nation)
  • So is Valador run by Sicilians or people from New Jersey? Sounds like they got the protectionism racket nicely transformed for tech subcontracting work.

  • by mhajicek (1582795) on Monday June 20, 2011 @03:23AM (#36497454)
    "The Falcon 9 tank walls and domes are made from aluminum lithium alloy."

    "What's an Aluminum falcon"?

    • by Rei (128717)

      Bravo. Bravo. :) Right after the also excellent, "What do you mean, 'They blew it up'? Who's "They"?!"

  • If the other companies using valador have any sense they will fire them immediately and have nothing more to do with them.
    • by torgis (840592)

      If the other companies using valador have any sense they will fire them immediately and have nothing more to do with them.

      This is a very good point. After being caught up in a racket like this, what do you think their seal of recommendation is worth now?

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Monday June 20, 2011 @04:46AM (#36497790)

    Many of the comments here question the ethics of Valador. Here's an interesting tidbit: the CEO, Kevin Mabie, is a U.S. military veteran, disabled in the line of duty. Check this out. [valador.com]. Which raises two questions:

    1) How dare you people dishonor a distinguished military veteran, who lost his ... something ... defending your freedoms? Don't you realize that the moment he was discharged from active duty, he instantly became a paragon of virtue, unable to lie, cheat, or defraud, and thus this accusation by SpaceX is not only baseless, but treasonous?

    2) How difficult is it to fake this sort of thing [osd.mil]? And does anyone in the Slashdot community care enough to go the extra mile to check his credentials, and possibly make some *real* news?

    • by Anonymous Coward
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Makes sense.
      Because he was a backseat driver in an aircraft and fell out of his bunk once too often he's free to employ as many defamatory, even criminal business practices as he wants...

    • by Chaugnar (1983084)
      I'm a veteran and my opinion is that Kevin Mabie is behaving criminally. Being that I'm a veteran that must mean I cannot be contradicted because by your own admission that would be treason.

      Many of the comments here question the ethics of Valador. Here's an interesting tidbit: the CEO, Kevin Mabie, is a U.S. military veteran, disabled in the line of duty.

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday June 20, 2011 @07:23AM (#36498656) Journal
    In fact, I wonder if there is any tie from that guy back to L-Mart? These days L-Mart is working hard on hit jobs on SpaceX. They have done loads of lobbying jobs on SpaceX, trying to prevent them from even getting a CHANCE at a job, and now has [forbes.com] started an astroturfing 'journalists' [forbes.com] similar to MS's use of Rob Enderle against Linux and Android. Sadly, it means that SpaceX has had to waste time and money fighting not just Valador, but L-Mart's lobbyists [spacenews.com] and hitmen. [forbes.com]

    There are now many companies that are fighting against all that Musk attempts to do. He really is shaking up the Global industries as he decides to go into them.
    • by gknoy (899301)

      For those who have never heard that abbreviation (and I hadn't), "L-Mart" is apparently short for Lockheed Martin.

      • by sconeu (64226)

        I'd never hear L-Mart. My company subbed to them for a while, and I always heard it as "Lock-Mart"

      • Sorry. I have loads of friends that work for various L-Mart divisions. As they told me, it is 'L-Mart, one step above K-Mart'.
  • Sounds like Yelp's business model...

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