What would be the legal implications if a Company have claimed they have Spaceflight heritage for it's products, but the heritage was for the previous Company, which the owner shut it for legal reasons, they then copied and rebranded and are now selling with claimed heritage for the newco. I believe it doesn't have heritage, but I am seeing this with a number of parts at present from a European Space start up, but not sure whether they can claim flight heritage?

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    $\begingroup$ If you actively lie it is boring old fraud. nasa.gov/news-release/… If you are claiming your parts/hardware are 'related' you may be able to skate through. There is nothing special legally in 'space heritage', just normal business law and due diligence. A smart buyer would be ignoring the 'heritage' words and wanting to see documentation proving the part does what they want, evidence it flew before is nice but it might have got lucky then and you want to know it will always work for you. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ @GremlinWranger Your link isn't about heritage, but about falsified technical documentation. Mangers worry about "heritage", engineers worry about "do we understand the details well enough to be sure this will work". If the specs don't meet the real, physical, mission requirements, you're in trouble regardless of "heritage". But if they do meet the requirements robustly, "heritage" is not a major engineering concern. $\endgroup$
    – John Doty
    Commented Mar 21 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ I'm confused about the scenario. As an engineer I don't care about what happened to the company or its branding. Are the parts the same ones, with a certain design and process for that design? If they engineer/manufacture their parts and they're trying to sell us new ones, are the engineers/machinists/etc the same? $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Commented Mar 21 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ Agree with @ErinAnne. On a technical pov as long as you have sufficient evidence that they are the same parts (e.g. its test envelope results), I don't see a problem. Unless of course, the reason for the original company closing is due to said parts themselves. $\endgroup$
    – Shawn Lim
    Commented Mar 22 at 3:11
  • $\begingroup$ Related scenario: A newly established company buys the blueprints for a flight-proven product and manufactures it under license, claiming space heritage. I don't think you can accuse them of fraud. $\endgroup$
    – Rainer P.
    Commented Mar 22 at 9:53

2 Answers 2


There are lots of ways that claims are made. When a scientist writes an abstract for a paper, the abstract will generally "make claims" that will hopefully be substantiated later in the paper. When you promote a company to investors, you may also make claims about what your company can or will try to do. If you read a datasheet for a product, that data sheet "makes claims" about what the product can do too. Claims are statements, and some are more rigorous than others, depending on the context and what people's expectations typically are.

When a claim is particularly nebulous, such as "we have spaceflight heritage", then someone who hears that claim will become informed that there's something (or some aspect) of potential value. They may want to inquire further if they think that a certain level of "spaceflight heritage" would add value in some way.

A company can make such a claim even if there is a very tenuous connection to some kind of space heritage. It's up to the recipient of the claim to ask more focused clarifying questions. Trust, but verify.

For example, if someone claims "space heritage" you could ask, "Does this mean that you have a TRL9-level product?".

Or, you could simply ask, "Is this specific product flight-proven?"

Another way to look at...

When a company makes a claim, it's like they are opening the door for you to engage with them. They're saying, "This is what we believe, and if you are willing to take the time to learn more, we think that you will also come to believe the same thing." The claims permit you to ask more direct questions, and in the process explore the possibility of forming a business relationship with them.


It's actually rather difficult to tell a piece of spacecraft equipment or other space flight related artifact that has actually been used in outer space itself from an equivalent item which has never left Earth. If the company knew the item had never been in space and advertised it otherwise, that's a clear case of fraud, and depending on the state or province and country, carries a hefty fine, lengthy prison term, or both!

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    $\begingroup$ Suggest reading the question not the title - this is a company selling NEW parts on basis that similar parts by a prior company have functioned successfully, not someone selling space artifacts/memorabilia. Sourcing some sample fraud cases that actually lead to sentences would be useful, since I suspect not that many 'sold X claiming it had Y history' lead to jail. . $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 18 at 13:07

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