NASA’s prime contractor for its Orion deep space crew capsule is aiming to launch an early flight test in late 2013 and plans to at least double its work force at Kennedy Space Center between now and then.
In what amounts to a paradigm shift, Lockheed Martin will manufacture Orion spacecraft at the launch site rather than a factory elsewhere — a first for KSC, which still is reeling from the loss of about 9,000 jobs as a result of the shutdown of the space shuttle program.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a former shuttle pilot and mission commander, said the Lockheed Martin decision to do production work at the KSC Operations & Checkout Building is a game-changer.
“The No. 1 thing about bringing jobs back here to the Kennedy Space Center is that we bring jobs back to this community — high-tech, good-paying jobs that put American workers back to work in something that they know and love,” Bolden said Friday during a visit to KSC.
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