Korean company alleges Space Camp officials lured CEO to Huntsville to serve lawsuit

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A Korean company that says it paid the operator of the U.S. Space Rocket Center $1.75 million for a license to open a Space Camp in South Korea is alleging the company’s CEO was lured to Huntsville in February in order to be served with a lawsuit seeking to end the deal.

The filing today by Odysseia Co. argues the lawsuit filed by the Alabama Space Science and Exhibit Commission should be thrown out and the suit’s service to CEO Byung-rok Song quashed because he was invited to fly to Huntsville from South Korea to negotiate the parties’ dispute and was never informed a lawsuit was imminent.

Song says in an affidavit he met with representatives from the non-profit board that runs the Space Rocket Center, but the negotiations didn’t resolve the dispute. Song says he went to back to his hotel and was met by a person in the lobby who identified himself as an ASSEC representative. The person handed Song an envelope and told him it contained documents related to ASSEC’s business with Odysseia.

Song said he went upstairs, opened the envelope and found a summons and the lawsuit ASSEC filed seeking to block Odysseia’s license claims.

Today’s filing cites prior court cases in arguing that it’s an abuse of the lawsuit service process to use artifice to induce a would-be defendant to travel to the forum for the suit in order to serve him.

“… it cannot be denied that ASSEC had an ulterior motive for having Mr. Song visit Madison County other than settlement discussions, which was ambushing Odysseia with service of legal process (and thus attempt to bypass completely the Hague Convention’s mandates on serving a foreign defendant),” the filing argues. “Further, ASSEC’s specific failure to disclose the true facts surrounding the purpose of the meeting–as well as its failure to inform Mr. Song of the contents of the envelope containing the Summons and Complaint–demonstrates fraud, or at a minimum, trickery and deceit.”

The Hague Convention’s protocols passed in the U.S. in 1967, according to the American Bar Association, were designed to “establish a process whereby documents being served abroad might be served in a simpler and timely manner, to ensure that defendants sued in foreign jurisdictions would receive actual and timely notice of suit, and to facilitate proof of service abroad.”

The lawsuit is now in U.S. District Court after having originally been filed in Madison County Circuit on Feb. 6, the same day Song says he was served. It seeks to block any claims Odysseia has to a license for a Space Camp in Korea.

ASSEC alleges in its lawsuit the Space Rocket Center’s attorneys contend that an agreement was entered into with Odysseia in 2006 with an eye toward developing a Space Camp in South Korea.

The lawsuit describes it as an option to enter a licensing agreement. As part of that agreement the Korean firm was to make “certain nonrefundable payments to ASSEC and take other affirmative steps to acquire the authorizations and investment necessary to develop a Space Camp program in Korea.”

The complaint says Odysseia was granted a time extension to pay the fees due under the option and eventually paid the required fees in 2008. But the company never executed the license agreement and at that time, “Odysseia had not secured the required governmental approval, location or funding,” the lawsuit argues.

Although Odysseia paid the fees – the amount is not listed in the original complaint – the company failed to enter the license agreement, according to the lawsuit.

In today’s filing Odysseia’s attorneys contend the company paid $1.75 million in September 2008 and the parties agreed to keep open the timeline for the formal signing of the license agreement to allow for development of Space Camp Korea and related developments.

Odysseia’s filing argues that it wanted to formalize the license, but ASSEC officials wanted to wait until a site for the camp was finalized. The company kept working on the project, the filing argues, and asked again in June 2010 to formalize the license agreement, but ASSEC refused.

In November 2013 the company learned that ASSEC was looking to sign a Space Camp deal with another Korean company, Mirinae Development, the filing claims. Odysseia says it then asked ASSEC to cease those actions and sign the licensing agreement.

ASSEC responded by sending a “pre-litigation demand letter,” the filing contends, and then it was agreed Song would come to Huntsville to meet with ASSEC officials.

The meeting didn’t resolve the issue, Song’s affidavit claims, and he understood that ASSEC officials wanted to continue to discuss the issue in an amicable way. Song was handed the ASSEC envelope upon his return to the hotel, he said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/03/korean_company_alleges_space_c.html

NASA administrator says cancel Space Launch System, Orion if Russia stops U.S. astronaut rides

WASHINGTON – NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told Congress today he will recommend canceling the Space Launch System and Orion capsule programs if Russia stops American astronaut rides to the International Space Station any time soon and before U.S. companies are ready to do the job.

Bolden said the space station would probably have to be shut down without Russian transport, and in that case, “I would go to the president and recommend we terminate SLS and Orion.”

Mo Brooks.JPGCongressman Mo Brooks

 The comments came as Bolden was questioned during a committee appearance about NASA’s 2015 budget by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville). Brooks said afterward that shutting down SLS and Orion would “compound” the access to space problem. “Administrator Bolden’s testimony underscores America’s need for sufficient funding for launch vehicle development,” Brooks said. “We simply cannot use Russia as a crutch for America’s space program any longer.”

Bolden said the administration has a plan to put Americans in space in 2017 aboard American-built and operated space taxis. “This is like asteroids, we have a plan, the plan needs to be funded, and the plan is commercial crew,” Bolden said.

Congress and the White House have sparred over the commercial crew program and NASA’s desire to rendezvous with an asteroid for research. So far, Congress has been more interested in funding SLS and Orion than either commercial crew or the asteroid mission. Some in Congress also believe the White House has looted NASA’s space budget to force the agency to do more climate and Earth science research.

Bolden was testifying about the White House 2015 budget request for NASA before the House science subcommittee that oversees the agency.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/03/nasa_administrator_says_cancel.html

Chief of Naval Operations: Sequestration will not affect Austal’s existing LCS and JHSV contracts


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Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle (L) and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert, discuss sequestration and how it will affect Austal’s Mobile shipyard, Feb. 22, 2013 in Mobile, Ala. (al.com/ Ellen Mitchell)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — Sequestration cuts will not affect Austal USA’s 10-ship, $1.6 billion joint high-speed vessel contract with the U.S. Navy, nor will it affect its contract to build five 127-meter littoral combat ships, according to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert.

During a tour of the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile today, Greenert said sequestration cuts will not affect projects that are already under contract, including Austal’s JHSV and LCS Navy deals.

“Sequestration will impact every single program; it requires a cut in every budget line,” Greenert said. “However, all those ships here that are under contract will not be affected, but we’ll have to move some money within the program line.”

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said Austal is optimistic that it’s providing a low cost
solution to the Navy, and does not expect any job cuts from
sequestration in regards to Austal’s existing Navy contracts.

“All
of our focus right now is delivering a great quality product to our
customer and that’s what we can control,” he said. “We’re confident,
based on the feedback that we’re getting from our customer, that we’re
stable on the contracts we have going forward.”

Standing alongside Perciavalle, Greenert addressed sequestration concerns, recent LCS criticisms and the future of the Navy’s partnership with Austal.

In a Bloomberg article released this week, critics inside the Navy referred to the LCS as the “Little Crappy Ship.” The article also discussed the debate over how vulnerable the LCS may be to attack, and cited numerous problems with the newly built vessels, including a six-inch crack in the hull of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s USS Freedom that had to be repaired, and “aggressive” corrosion in the propulsion area of Austal’s USS Independence.

Greenert said despite the LCS coming under fire recently for its design and cost, he’s looking forward to the Navy’s use of the ship.

“The Freedom and the Independence have proven their worth for the design of the ship,” he said. “Some folks felt that the ship should be used for missions or for capabilities which it frankly will not do. Some folks will put it in a situation and say ‘it’s not made for this, it won’t do well in this.’ I would acknowledge that.”

Greenert went on to say that the Navy has intentions to operate the ship in conjunction with other, larger ships, so he’s very optimistic that the ship will do well.

Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Maryland and Austal Ltd., based in Henderson, Australia, build two separate versions of the LCS. The dual sets of ships were meant to get them built faster, at a rate of four a year rather than two a year.

Lockheed makes a steel-bodied version in partnership with Marinette Marine Corp., at Marinette’s yard in Marinette, Wis., while Austal makes an aluminum version in partnership with Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. under a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract. The estimated price to build each LCS is $440 million.

The LCS is intended to perform missions such as destroying mines, hunting submarines, interdicting drugs and providing humanitarian relief.

“As a customer, I’m here to check out the wares that we buy,” Greenert said of his shipyard tour. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve got a lot of capacity for future building.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/chief_of_naval_operations_sequ.html

Alabama State Port Authority: Shipping report for Feb 24


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The MSC LAURA docks at APM Terminals Mobile, June 4, 2012 in Mobile, Ala. (Photo courtesy of the Alabama State Port Authority)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — The Alabama State Port Authority provides its weekly port activity report, including ship departures and arrivals for the next week.

Departure and arrival dates, vessel name, berth, destination and cargo are provided below. Look for the report here on al.com each Sunday.

Arrivals:

Feb. 23: OSTENDE MAX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 23: INTERLINK ACUITY; ASD PIER SOUTH D 1; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 24: STAR EAGLE; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; PANAMA CITY; GENERAL CARGO

Feb 24: AM CONTRECOEUR; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; SWINOUJSCIE, PL; BULK CARGO

Feb 24: MSC JORDAN; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: MSC BARCELONA; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: LIJUN C; ASD SOUTH B 2; KINGSTON, JM; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: BBC ROMANIA; ASD PIER 5; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: LETO; ASD MCDUFFIE; IMMINGHAM, GB; BULK CARGO

Feb. 25: SPIEGELGRACHT; ASD RIVER END C; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: BANDA SEA; ASD RAIL FERRY RAMP; COATZACOALCOS, MX; RAIL

Feb. 26: OCEAN BEAUTY; ASD NORTH A 2; NEW ORLEANS; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: STELLA BECRUX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; CONSTANTZA, RO; BULK CARGO

Feb. 26: THOR; ASD PINTO ISLAND; UNKNOWN, US; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: SEA-LAND EAGLE; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Feb. 26: MALTE B; ASD PIER 5; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: STAR EPSILON; ASD NORTH A 2; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: MARITIME SUZANNE; ASD LIQUID BULK TERMINAL ; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 27: LATMAR; ASD NORTH A 2; BROWNSVILLE-CAMERON COUNTY; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: ALBION BAY; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: CMA CGM NEW JERSEY; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/alabama_state_port_authority_s.html

Mobile business news has moved to a new location on AL.com


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Read the latest Mobile business news at al.com/business/mobile, or read all our business news at al.com/business.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/mobile_business_news.html

Books-A-Million sees dollars in ducks, will sell "Duck Dynasty" merchandise


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The Duck Commander display that will be installed in Books-A-Million stores. (Special)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Things are just ducky at Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc.

The bookstore chain today announced that its stores will sell more than 40 items from Duck Commander, the line of goods associated with the popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

Camo store displays will be stocked with DVDs, books, t-shirts, hats, key chains and other novelties. The displays also will include duck calls, the product that made the extended Robertson family wealthy and ultimately got them on television.

The show, which is AE’s highest-rated program, follows the antics of the unconventional Louisiana family and its business. The show’s popularity led to the extended Duck Commander product line. On the Duck Commander website duck calls range in price from $24.95 to $179.95.

Jeff Skipper, Books-A-Million vice president of marketing, said the push to sell Duck Commander merchandise is in response to explosive demand.

“We saw a tremendous amount of interest in all things “Duck” during the holiday selling season,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our team made the decision to create a custom, in-store display so that we could give our customers a one-stop-shop for all their favorite Duck Commander gear.”

The displays will be installed in all Books-A-Million stores before the television show begins its third season on Wednesday, the company said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/books-a-million_sees_dollars_i.html

Friday recap: The week’s Alabama business news in review

Alabama business news you may have missed this week:

J.D. Power and Associates releases its 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study.

Best Buy to extend its price matching guarantee to major online competitors.

Communications experts dissect Carnival Cruise Lines’ response to the Triumph debacle.

Vulcan Materials begins blasting on Gurley Mountain.

A Montgomery auto dealer is named vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The Department of Defense considers an alternative to sequestration that would reduce civilian employees’ pay and hours by 20 percent.

HealthSouth saw a 6.7 percent increase in full-year revenue in 2012, generating $2.16 billion in business over the 12-month period.

Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex eagerly awaits the addition of new tenant Airbus.

Work begins on the new Birmingham School of Law.

Investors with Audley Capital Advisors accuse Walter Energy’s leaders of having mismanaged the company.

International Shipholding is preparing a $25 million stock offering.

Lesley McClure, regional executive at the Atlanta Fed’s Birmingham Branch, sees strength in the state’s auto industry.

Alabama’s brewing industry has doubled in size each of the last three years, a new report shows.

AirWalk, a new extreme trampoline arena in metro Birmingham, draws thousands.

Office Depot is set to acquire OfficeMax, a move that may accelerate the closing or selling of stores. The retailers have a combined 32 stores in Alabama.

Alabama’s second annual sales tax holiday for severe weather gear kicks off Friday.

Walmart plans to hire 175 people for two of its Neighborhood Markets opening in Decatur and Florence.

How many engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Huntsville is celebrating National Engineers Week.

The Mobile Boat Show kicks off Friday as optimism is again running high in the marine manufacturing industry.

Alabama’s economy supports slightly fewer jobs than it did at the start of 2000. But non-manufacturing jobs have increased.

BAE Systems Ship Repair in Mobile will avoid layoffs.

First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based restaurant chain, is headed for Birmingham.

Winn-Dixie is moving into a space in Inverness Corners vacated by Bruno’s market.

There was a leadership shuffle at Mobile’s White-Spunner Construction Inc.

Express Oil Change Service Center, a Birmingham-based company with operations in 12 states, acquires Tire Engineers.

Ignite Fitness, a Crossfit affiliate, is expanding in Vestavia Hills.

Cahaba Brewing and Hop City unite to make beer backing home brewing law.

Mercedes plant gets a new boss, but it’s a familiar face.

Knology buyer Wow! investing and rebranding in North Alabama.

Divided Birmingham Water Works Board approves $145 million bond deal.

Airbus plant, along with expanding training and infrastructure programs, cited as progress for Accelerate Alabama.

Regions CEO Hall to assume chairmanship in May.


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Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/friday_recap_the_weeks_alabama_1.html

Birmingham business news has moved to a new location on AL.com


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 To get the latest Birmingham-area business news, please visit al.com/business/birmingham. For more business news, visit al.com/business.

If you’re an RSS subscriber, you can find the new feed here.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/birmingham_business_news_has_m.html

NASA unloads composite rocket tank of tomorrow from legendary Super Guppy for tests in Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – The giant rocket fuel tank NASA unloaded Thursday from one of the world’s legendary airplanes at Marshall Space Flight Center is a high-stakes bet on the future of space exploration.

“When you build fast and test fast, you can fail fast,” admitted John Vickers, NASA project manager for the Composite Cryotank Technology Demonstration to be performed at Marshall this summer. But, Vickers said, “We have very high confidence we’re not going to fail the test.”

The 18-foot-diameter tank flew to Alabama aboard NASA’s legendary Super Guppy, a puffed-up cargo transport that has hauled major pieces of space hardware across the country for decades in various models. This time, the hardware wasn’t metal, but a composite-material cylinder 20 feet tall and some 30 percent lighter than an aluminum tank of the same size.

At Marshall, where some of America’s unique space assets are located, smaller versions of the tank have already been successfully tested. This one will be lifted into a test stand sometime this summer, filled with 28,000 gallons of dangerous liquid hydrogen rocket fuel and put under pressure to simulate launch pressures.

If the structure holds, America’s deep space exploration program has taken a significant step. “You’d better being using composites,” Vickers said, “because that’s where the aerospace is going.” Composite structures are already flying, in fact. Boeing used them for 50 percent of the structure of its new 787 Dreamliner, and Boeing built this tank, too.

If something goes wrong, that’s why the test is at Marshall. The center has safe underground control rooms and big test areas first used to fire Army and Saturn rocket engines.

But before this tank can be tested, it had to be unloaded from the Super Guppy Thursday morning. Marshall’s crews have a good reputation for handling rare and expensive space hardware – the mirrors for the James Webb Space Telescope were tested here, for example – but Thursday’s crew had its hands full with the gusty wind blowing across the Redstone Arsenal Airfield.

A few knots more wind and the giant cranes wouldn’t have been able to work, but the job went off in perfect sequence: slide the tank out of the Guppy’s cargo hold on a motorized pallet, use two cranes to lift it above the pallet, drive the pallet away, move a 96-wheel K-Mag tractor capable of hauling 800,000 pounds under the hanging tank, lower the tank and secure it, and drive the tank to a safe and secure location.

So far, so good. Stand by for testing.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. to clarify that Boeing built the tank to be tested

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/03/nasa_unloads_composite_rocket.html

Korean company alleges Space Camp officials lured CEO to Huntsville to serve lawsuit

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A Korean company that says it paid the operator of the U.S. Space Rocket Center $1.75 million for a license to open a Space Camp in South Korea is alleging the company’s CEO was lured to Huntsville in February in order to be served with a lawsuit seeking to end the deal.

The filing today by Odysseia Co. argues the lawsuit filed by the Alabama Space Science and Exhibit Commission should be thrown out and the suit’s service to CEO Byung-rok Song quashed because he was invited to fly to Huntsville from South Korea to negotiate the parties’ dispute and was never informed a lawsuit was imminent.

Song says in an affidavit he met with representatives from the non-profit board that runs the Space Rocket Center, but the negotiations didn’t resolve the dispute. Song says he went to back to his hotel and was met by a person in the lobby who identified himself as an ASSEC representative. The person handed Song an envelope and told him it contained documents related to ASSEC’s business with Odysseia.

Song said he went upstairs, opened the envelope and found a summons and the lawsuit ASSEC filed seeking to block Odysseia’s license claims.

Today’s filing cites prior court cases in arguing that it’s an abuse of the lawsuit service process to use artifice to induce a would-be defendant to travel to the forum for the suit in order to serve him.

“… it cannot be denied that ASSEC had an ulterior motive for having Mr. Song visit Madison County other than settlement discussions, which was ambushing Odysseia with service of legal process (and thus attempt to bypass completely the Hague Convention’s mandates on serving a foreign defendant),” the filing argues. “Further, ASSEC’s specific failure to disclose the true facts surrounding the purpose of the meeting–as well as its failure to inform Mr. Song of the contents of the envelope containing the Summons and Complaint–demonstrates fraud, or at a minimum, trickery and deceit.”

The Hague Convention’s protocols passed in the U.S. in 1967, according to the American Bar Association, were designed to “establish a process whereby documents being served abroad might be served in a simpler and timely manner, to ensure that defendants sued in foreign jurisdictions would receive actual and timely notice of suit, and to facilitate proof of service abroad.”

The lawsuit is now in U.S. District Court after having originally been filed in Madison County Circuit on Feb. 6, the same day Song says he was served. It seeks to block any claims Odysseia has to a license for a Space Camp in Korea.

ASSEC alleges in its lawsuit the Space Rocket Center’s attorneys contend that an agreement was entered into with Odysseia in 2006 with an eye toward developing a Space Camp in South Korea.

The lawsuit describes it as an option to enter a licensing agreement. As part of that agreement the Korean firm was to make “certain nonrefundable payments to ASSEC and take other affirmative steps to acquire the authorizations and investment necessary to develop a Space Camp program in Korea.”

The complaint says Odysseia was granted a time extension to pay the fees due under the option and eventually paid the required fees in 2008. But the company never executed the license agreement and at that time, “Odysseia had not secured the required governmental approval, location or funding,” the lawsuit argues.

Although Odysseia paid the fees – the amount is not listed in the original complaint – the company failed to enter the license agreement, according to the lawsuit.

In today’s filing Odysseia’s attorneys contend the company paid $1.75 million in September 2008 and the parties agreed to keep open the timeline for the formal signing of the license agreement to allow for development of Space Camp Korea and related developments.

Odysseia’s filing argues that it wanted to formalize the license, but ASSEC officials wanted to wait until a site for the camp was finalized. The company kept working on the project, the filing argues, and asked again in June 2010 to formalize the license agreement, but ASSEC refused.

In November 2013 the company learned that ASSEC was looking to sign a Space Camp deal with another Korean company, Mirinae Development, the filing claims. Odysseia says it then asked ASSEC to cease those actions and sign the licensing agreement.

ASSEC responded by sending a “pre-litigation demand letter,” the filing contends, and then it was agreed Song would come to Huntsville to meet with ASSEC officials.

The meeting didn’t resolve the issue, Song’s affidavit claims, and he understood that ASSEC officials wanted to continue to discuss the issue in an amicable way. Song was handed the ASSEC envelope upon his return to the hotel, he said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2014/03/korean_company_alleges_space_c.html