Spacehab v. NASA

Spacehab's legal dispute with NASA in connection with the 2003 Columbia disaster spilled into federal district court in Houston on Friday as the company filed a civil suit against the space agency alleging $79.7 million in loss and damages due to the space shuttle explosion.

As the company's release states, Spacehab "claims that NASA’s actions and omissions led to the space shuttle disaster and the destruction of the Company’s flight assets. The complaint identifies the tragedy as a foreseeable consequence of NASA’s negligence as documented in the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) report which represents the findings of the post-accident investigation."

(I sent a note over to the Spacehab communications V.P., Kimberly Campbell asking her for a copy of the pleading. I like to read them. You don't have to.)

The legal wrangling began with Spacehab's claim for recovery under the Federal Tort Claims Act (which of course is the statute under which the US has waived its sovereign immunity to allow civil suits for actions arising out of negligent acts of its agents.)

Michael E. Kearney, SPACEHAB president and CEO said, “We are disappointed that NASA took no action to resolve this claim, and that we had to resort to the courts in order to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement,” stated

Meanwhile, as noted in some reports, despite the ongoing dispute NASA and Spacehab continue to do business (for example, NASA awarded Spacehab's subsidiary Astrotech a $1 million contract to provide payload processing services, thank you.)

(As also noted, if Spacehab's
stock price stays below $1.00 the company could be delisted from NASDAQ. I won't say I own company stock but I hope that doesn't happen.)

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