In December, San Francisco startup Capella Space launched the first satellite in its planned “constellation,” a first-of-its-kind array that could provide on-demand imaging from space. But according to a lawsuit from Capella’s former vendor, MMA Design, they did it with the help of stolen trade secrets — conveyed by MMA’s co-owner.
The litigation could get more convoluted now that the co-owner, co-defendant Thomas Harvey, is countersuing his own company, as
well as MMA’s other co-owner and a custodian. Harvey alleges they’re conspiring to “freeze him out” of his 50% stake in MMA, according to court documents filed last week.
A MODERN SPACE RACE
MMA, based in Louisville, invents solar arrays and antennas for satellites. The original lawsuit, which intellectual property law firm Sheridan Ross filed on MMA’s behalf in November, centers around the company’s work in 2016 as a vendor for Capella.
Capella hired MMA to design technology for satellites it was developing
with the goal of establishing a group of synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, satellites in Earth’s orbit. The SAR imaging field is a modern commercial space race where several companies are “vying to establish themselves and be ‘first to market,’” according to the complaint.