Cut-throat competition between Japanese satellite companies was behind a hacking at the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), officials said today.
Red-faced NASDA confirmed that a worker at a Japanese satellite firm illegally accessed a computer at Japan's space agency to see classified data relating to a rival firm.
In a bad week for the agency, NASDA not only failed to get a satellite into orbit, but it also had to face the fact that an employee at NEC Toshiba Space Systems, a joint venture set up by NEC and Toshiba, gained access in December to plans for satellite development drawn up by rival Mitsubishi Electric.
NASDA said it had barred NEC Toshiba Space Systems from tendering bids for one month and insisted that the employee be transferred to a different position.
The spokesman said there were no plans to file criminal charges against the unidentified employee.
The joint venture and Mitsubishi Electric were working together at NASDA's behest to develop a super-high-speed internet satellite set to be launched in 2005.
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