Report: Job Losses From Shuttle Shutdown to Total 6,400-7,000

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center
Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

A new report from Brevard Workforce paints a dismal picture of the impact that NASA’s phase out of the space shuttle will have on the economy:

An overview of AWO study results indicates the Shuttle today employs a prime, sub-tier and related base support workforce level of approximately 2,000 civil servants and 9,160 Shuttle-related employees in the state of Florida, with approximately 6,140 of those employees, with the United Space Alliance (USA). The total estimated shuttle-related payroll for this workforce is estimated at approximately $660,000,000, with USA accounting for approximately $414,450,000 of that total….

Of the 9,160 total current Shuttle-related workers, the Phase III analysis estimates that approximately 6,400 to 7,000 will be impacted as they will not easily transition, at this time, to known new programs and therefore resources are required to provide transition assistance for these impacted workers.

The government agency conduced the study, which is titled “Aerospace Workforce Outlook Report – Phase III,” to determine the impact of the shuttle’s shutdown and to determine ways to help mitigate the economic impact. It outlines a series of efforts, including workforce retraining and attracting commercial aerospace ventures to Florida, designed to soften the impact.

The report assumes that NASA will continue developing its Constellation program, which includes the Ares I and V rockets and Orion spacecraft. This effort will require fewer workers and will result in a gap of five to seven years in flights.

The Obama Administration may scrap the Ares I rocket and put billions of dollars into commercial alternatives for human spaceflight. It is unclear what impact such a decision might have in Florida.