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Blue Origin thread.


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11 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

Now it's the SpaceX turn to have negative part masses.

A puzzle:

DC-X + BO = SpX LL

Negative mass was Dynetics, not BO... assuming that's what you were going for.

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3 hours ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

Have they figured out how to turn negative mass into a dietary supplement?  

No, but I've heard of this "repulsion gel" they've been lining their tanks with.

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On 8/13/2021 at 1:50 AM, Shpaget said:
On 8/12/2021 at 9:17 AM, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

Courts can halt everything - presuming the plaintiff can make it seem like irreparable harm will occur unless the courts act. 

This is where 'choosing venue' comes in - a sympathetic judge in Nebraska might be asked to rule on something happening in Texas and Florida if the clever attorney can justify it 

My armchair lawyering opinion is that monetary damages are usually not considered irreparable harm.

There's a four-part factor test for injunctive relief: (1) likelihood of plaintiff's success in the underlying case, (2) actual and irreparable harm to the plaintiff without the TRO, (3) lower harm to the defendant if the TRO is granted than to the plaintiff if it is not, and (4) public interest factors.

In this situation, Blue Origin has very low chances of success in getting anything overturned, no irreparable harm, serious harm to NASA and SpaceX if a TRO were to be granted, and substantial public interest factors weighing against them. It doesn't mean a federal district judge somewhere might not go along with their argument, as @JoeSchmuckatelli wisely points out, but it's very unlikely.

On 8/13/2021 at 6:34 AM, Beccab said:

Good news everyone:

They did another infographic!

RDT_20210813_1232461439108014153774135.j

No, I am not joking. This is from the official BO website

This is intensely and absurdly embarrassing.

  • First: no, it doesn't take 16 launches, that's stupid.
  • Second, LITERALLY EVERY HLS DESIGN requires two Orion dockings for crew transfer. How is that...anything?
  • Third, National Team's design also required launch vehicles that have never flown to orbit and are still being designed.

Just absurd.

 

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A lead engineer of Blue Origin’s HLS lunar lander team has left the company and is joining SpaceX, per LinkedIn

This is somewhat surprising. Not because he wanted to leave BO and join SpaceX, but because employees in the technology industry with access to proprietary information usually have non-compete clauses in their contracts. It's known that Amazon has quite a broad 18 month non-compete agreement, and at one time were even enforcing it against temporary warehouse workers.

On a related subject. I believe the behavior we've seen from Blue Origin regarding lawsuits and PR is rooted in Bezos' desire not to compete in the rocket industry, but to dominate the rocket industry. Who's gonna tell him that was never going to happen?

(Edit to add: after checking the SpaceX thread I see now that the unenforceable nature of most non-compete clauses has already been discussed.)

Edited by HvP
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2 hours ago, HvP said:
Quote

A lead engineer of Blue Origin’s HLS lunar lander team has left the company and is joining SpaceX, per LinkedIn

This is somewhat surprising. Not because he wanted to leave BO and join SpaceX, but because employees in the technology industry with access to proprietary information usually have non-complete clauses in their contracts. It's known that Amazon has quite a broad 18 month non-compete agreement, and at one time were even enforcing it against temporary warehouse workers.

My guess is that he did have a non-compete and that when he notified Blue Origin he was leaving, they got all nasty, and so SpaceX simply bought out the non-compete.

Even if a non-compete clause doesn't have an explicit liquidated monetary buyout provision, it is well known that you invariably cannot get specific performance of a non-compete, so it would be bad faith for BO's lawyers to not entertain a buyout offer and negotiate in good faith.

Spoiler

Here's how it would usually go if they tried to litigate a non-compete.

  1. Blue Origin files a lawsuit in federal district court for breach of contract and tortious interference, naming SpaceX and Arora as co-defendants and demanding specific performance of the non-compete.
  2. SpaceX files a Rule 12(b)(6) motion stating that Blue Origin has failed to plead any actual grounds for relief that the court can grant, since a court cannot grant specific performance of a non-compete, and so the court has to throw out the whole case.
  3. Blue Origin files for a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent SpaceX from hiring Arora, arguing that it will suffer irreparable harm due to the proprietary information and trade secrets known by Arora. SpaceX files a response stating that it isn't hiring Arora to gain any proprietary information or trade secrets because it doesn't need anything Blue Origin has. 
  4. SpaceX files a brief citing recent Third Circuit precedent on non-competes and tortious interference and files a counterclaim for tortious interference against Blue Origin.
  5. With the cooperation of SpaceX, Arora files an impleader naming SpaceX as a third-party defendant to Blue Origin's claim for breach of contract, and SpaceX agrees to indemnification of Arora.
  6. Blue Origin loses its motion for a TRO and SpaceX loses its 12(b)(6) motion. Both parties promptly cross-file for summary judgment.
  7. Summary judgment is granted, finding a breach of contract but dismissing the tortious interference claim, with damages to be determined by subsequent bench trial due to the lack of material facts in dispute.
  8. The judge orders the parties into mediation on the calculation of damages.
  9. The parties agree on $75,000 in total damages payable by SpaceX to Blue Origin, with both parties to bear their own litigation costs, and SpaceX pays Blue Origin $75,000.
  10. All parties stipulate the dismissal of the suit with prejudice.

Since everyone involved knows this is how it's gonna go, it's a heck of a lot simpler to skip straight to step 9 and avoid all the other steps.

2 hours ago, HvP said:

On a related subject. I believe the behavior we've seen from Blue Origin regarding lawsuits and PR is rooted in Bezos' desire not to compete in the rocket industry, but to dominate the rocket industry. Who's gonna tell him that was never going to happen?

It will be challenging for Bezos to dominate the orbital launch marketplace when he has no orbital launch product.

This is not like Amazon, where he could create a book warehouse and sell product below market cost until he killed off all the competition. If you're going to kill your competition you actually have to be able to offer products or services. You can't sell paper rockets.

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WRT the HLS contract, they need a foot in the door before LSS flies, because once it does it will become obvious all the other solutions are comical.

All the selection and protest often forgets that the NT lander submitted is only for the first launch, they need an entirely new one for more than 2 crew, sustainable, etc. given their non-SS/SH launch options, it must just be more launches of components.

Exactly the sort of complexity they complain about with SpaceX.

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The issue of engineers taking proprietary knowledge with them is a common one.

Ethically and legally engineers own their own skills and general knowledge. But they don't own specific proprietary IP from their previous company. It can be a legal minefield, both for the engineers and for the companies they move to.

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16 minutes ago, tater said:

 

Typo or time travel? 

 

(From the link) 

Knowledge gained from the first flight on October 13, 2021 informed a series of critical improvements to further the capabilities of the Navigation Doppler Lidar and the Descent Landing Computer, which would work together to determine a spacecraft’s location and speed as it approaches the surface of the Moon

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On 8/17/2021 at 12:16 PM, sevenperforce said:

There's a four-part factor test for injunctive relief: (1) likelihood of plaintiff's success in the underlying case, (2) actual and irreparable harm to the plaintiff without the TRO, (3) lower harm to the defendant if the TRO is granted than to the plaintiff if it is not, and (4) public interest factors.

In this situation, Blue Origin has very low chances of success in getting anything overturned, no irreparable harm, serious harm to NASA and SpaceX if a TRO were to be granted, and substantial public interest factors weighing against them. It doesn't mean a federal district judge somewhere might not go along with their argument, as @JoeSchmuckatelli wisely points out, but it's very unlikely.

This logic seems sound, but it seems that BO was granted an injunction anyway. Any idea as to how?

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5 minutes ago, Silavite said:

This logic seems sound, but it seems that BO was granted an injunction anyway. Any idea as to how?

The stop work was voluntary, it was not imposed.

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8 hours ago, tater said:

The stop work was voluntary, it was not imposed.

But it seems directly related to the case - an agreed order giving BO what they might have gotten a friendly judge to issue (but with less onerous terms), in exchange for an agreement to expedite the process. 

Having worked in the field - there are many things a clever attorney can do to assist a client who wants to drag something out or delay something until circumstances change (like until they can get their pocket legislator kicked into action or the other guy runs out of money). 

Thus the agreed order... Each side gets a little of what they want 

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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3 minutes ago, JoeSchmuckatelli said:

But it seems directly related to the case - an agreed order giving BO what they might have gotten a friendly judge to issue (but with less onerous terms), in exchange for an agreement to expedite the process. 

Having worked in the field - there are many things a clever attorney can do to assist a client who wants to drag something out or delay something until circumstances change (like until they can get their pocket legislator kicked into action or the other guy runs out of money). 

My personal theory is that November 1st was the first possible date NASA thought this could be solved: the 300 millions SpaceX received from NASA recently are known to be the maximum milestone payment they could receive in FY 2021 so for a while the protest wouldn't matter; FY 2022 would begin in October 1st, but perhaps they believed that the case couldn't be settled by that date so they postponed it by exactly 1 month. If everything goes according to the plan the process is delayed by that month and after that HLS can continue without further problems, meaning instead of an unlikely but still possible delay lasting an undefined amount of time (injunction) and a lengthy legal protest there is next to no effect on neither SpaceX nor NASA (in the case of BO losing)

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Since SpaceX doesnt stop working on starship even without money from Nasa would a court mandated halt of the contract even mean anything? At some point the contract will continue, so SpaceX just shows Nasa all the progress they have done in that time and they get the milestone-money anyway, just a bit later.

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1 hour ago, Elthy said:

Since SpaceX doesnt stop working on starship even without money from Nasa would a court mandated halt of the contract even mean anything? At some point the contract will continue, so SpaceX just shows Nasa all the progress they have done in that time and they get the milestone-money anyway, just a bit later.

If not sealed - the scope of the agreed order can be found in the filings.  However I remember seeing that the case is, to some degree, under seal.

The agreed order will set out the terms.  So likely - anything related to the actual work on the lander would be under the stoppage order.  I don't think that's going to extend to a prototype 'do everything' rocket - but it would to something like a full-scale mockup, or landing legs or anything directly related to the award/contract.

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29 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Oof. :wacko:

...and then it gets worse. 

I'm sad. Blue Origin has an important role to fulfill in getting SpaceX to actually lower Starship launch prices.

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