Signs of Expansion Amid Mass Layoffs

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

Space layoffs are accelerating this month in the wake of the final space shuttle flight. Meanwhile, commercial space companies are expanding in Florida, California and Texas as they ramp up programs designed to carry American astronauts into space.

First, the bad news:

  • Approximately 1,000 space shuttle workers will lose their jobs this month, including 515 at United Space Alliance’s Houston operations and 285 additional USA workers in Huntsville, Houston and Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • Boeing and Lockheed Martin are also planning layoffs
  • ATK laid off approximately 100 employees in Utah as a result of the space shuttle’s demise.

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USA Proposes Keeping Shuttle Alive Until 2017

Space shuttle Atlantis lands on runway 33 at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility concluding the STS-129 mission. Photo credit: NASA Jack Pfaller

Some interesting news from Rob Coppinger:

NASA is considering a plan to keep the space shuttle Endeavour in flight-like condition after its last scheduled mission, a move that could lead to its transformation into a privatized spaceship rather than a museum piece.

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Happy New Year! You’re Fired!

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

Florida Today reports on the first batch of many layoffs along the Space Coast as the space shuttle program winds down:

Lead space shuttle contractor United Space Alliance plans to lay off about 150 employees at Kennedy Space Center this week.

The local layoffs, effective Friday, are the first of potentially several thousand this year as the Houston-based company undergoes a dramatic downsizing in preparation for the final shuttle flight.

The timing of the upcoming cuts was not impacted by the delay in shuttle Discovery’s flight from November until at least February due to technical problems.

Read the full story.

Olson: No More Bailouts (Except in My District)

Congress must fulfill duty to clarify NASA’s future
by U.S. Rep. Peter Olson
The Houston Chronicle

Russia, China and now India and Japan know that the future is still in human space flight. The mission of NASA must ensure that the U.S. remains the global leader. To that end, Congress has a duty to ultimately provide the necessary resources for NASA to accomplish this mission.

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United Space Alliance Freezes Pay

Space Shuttle Atlantis launch, May 11, 2009

Live At KSC: USA Announces Freeze On Raises
Florida Today

NASA’s prime shuttle fleet operator is freezing merit raises for all 8,903 employees in 2010, a move being made to protect current jobs and increase the company’s ability to win new business as its largest contract is winding toward an end.
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USA to Lay Off 400 as Shuttle Retirement Begins

Space shuttle Atlantis lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA/Carla Thomas
Space shuttle Atlantis lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA/Carla Thomas

USA to lay off 240 at KSC
Florida Today

NASA’s prime shuttle fleet operator will lay off 400 people this October, including about 240 at Kennedy Space Center, as the nation’s space agency moves toward retiring its winged orbiters.

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Ares I-X Vehicle Stacked for Launch

Ares 1-X undergoing assembly
Ares 1-X undergoing assembly

ATK PRESS RELEASE

For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a new space vehicle will begin stacking on a mobile launch platform (MLP) at Kennedy Space Center, thanks to the hard work and dedication of an experienced team of employees from NASA and contractors United Space Alliance (USA) and Alliant Techsystems [NYSE: ATK].

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ATK Awards $257 Million Contract to United Space Alliance

ATK PRESS RELEASE

Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK – News) announced that it awarded United Space Alliance (USA) a $257 Million contract to perform subcontractor support to ATK for the NASA’s Ares I and Ares 1-X programs through the Design, Development, Test and Engineering (DDT&E) phase. The contract includes engineering, deceleration system development and technical KSC operations support for Stage I activities.

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