Hughes Air craft Co. has filed a $288 million federal suiot over the U.S. government's 1986 decision to stop launching commercial satellites from space shuttles, company officials said.
The suit, filed yesterday in U.S. Claims Court in Washington, seeks compensation for additional costs borne by Hughes to find alternative ways of launching 10 communications satellites that were slated to go aboard the shuttle. Hughes' costs to launch the satellites have nearly doubled because of the contract's cancellation, company officials said.
"In some cases the launches were 100 percent more than what we contracted with NASA for," Donald O'Neal, a Hughes spokesman, said. "Up until the change in policy, Hughes Aircraft was the largest purchaser of launch capability on the shuttle."