Some space shuttle workers get layoff notice
NASA’s prime space shuttle contractor, United Space Alliance, sent layoff notices this week to more than 15 percent of its 8,100-member shuttle work force, officials said on Tuesday.
The layoffs, which take effect October 1, involve 902 workers in Florida, 478 in Texas and 14 in Alabama, said United Space Alliance spokeswoman Kari Fluegel.
The space shuttles, which began flying in 1981 and are capable of hauling heavy payloads, are being phased out due to high operating costs and to free up money for new spacecraft that can travel beyond the International Space Station’s orbit about 220 miles above Earth.
The coming retirement of the space shuttle is imperiling thousands of jobs at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as well as jobs in Texas, Alabama and Utah, worrying local leaders who are concerned about the economic impact and promising to be an issue in November’s congressional elections.
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