Two companies established joint venture for creating new kind of space logistic service and separated before reaching first contract. Now both have same problem – success.
Sometimes it is hardest part is to deal with losing chance. Recently, on April 12 2016 Orbital ATK signed with Intelsat first in history contract for servicing satellites in space with utilization of their Orbital Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1). MEV-1 was result of joint venture company (with division of shares 50/50 with assumed future income at $10 billion) ViviSat established in 2010 by Orbital ATK and US Space. Company designed MEV-1 as refueling satellite which could reach other satellite and perform refueling or with utilization of own propulsion, move it into another orbit. MEV-1 was ready in 2013 but ViviSat was still not generating income. During three years (2010-2013) ViviSat was forced to ask for additional funds from Orbital ATK, which agreed to give $3 million. In 2012 when ViviSat requested for another $200000, Orbital ATK put one condition – if ViviSat will fail to achieve milestones (which was among others signing contract for MEV-1) 3 from 4 board members will go to Orbital ATK, along with full control over company or joint venture will be simply dissolved by the decision of the board. It should not be surprising, because at the beginning Orbital ATK was described in agreement only as technical support while US Space was responsible for financing whole venture. Orbital ATK announced date of final acquisition of the ViviSat for April 2013, but due the negotiations date was changed multiple times until 30 September 2015. According to lawsuit ViviSat managed to sign contract for MEV-1 with Intelsat worth $65 million on August 2015 and started negotiating other agreements, but Orbital ATK decided to dissolve company by decision of the board (3 to 4 voices) on April 4 2016. On 12 April 2016 Orbital ATK (read more here) announced about signing contract between its new subsidiary Space Logistics LLC with Intelsat for servicing their satellites. Contract covers launch of MEV-1 in 2018 and first service mission on 2019. US Space claims in the lawsuit, that Orbital ATK was ignoring propositions of contracts which appeared between 2014 and 2016 to acquire majority in board, dissolve ViviSat and offer identical service in house. Orbital ATK did not commented lawsuit.
Situation is hard because during years of existence of ViviSat, Orbital ATK was forced to invest money and effort to keep Company on the market. It is sure that by the postponing ultimate date of acquiring majority in the board, Orbital ATK showed good will. Now the only question is if it will be enough to dismissed lawsuit in New York state court…