End of the Line for United Space Alliance?

Space News reports that United Space Alliance has been ordered to stop pursuing new business, signaling the likely end of a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture whose main task was operating NASA’s now-retired space shuttle fleet.

The Houston-based company, formed in 1995, has a contract with NASA to complete close-out of the shuttle program that expires at the end of September. Although the article does not say definitively that the company will be shutting down, that is the belief of several sources quoted.

Based on the article, Boeing and Lockheed Martin will compete against each other for future operations contracts rather than competing through USA.

USA Gets Contract Extension for KSC Ground Operations Support

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL (USA PR) – NASA has awarded United Space Alliance (USA) a one-year extension to the Space Program Operations Contract (SPOC) to continue providing ground operations support at Kennedy Space Center through Sept. 30, 2012. The total value of the contract is $49.4 million.

“Maintaining and enhancing the launch capabilities at the Kennedy Space Center are critical to helping NASA prepare for the next phase of human spaceflight,” said Mark Nappi, USA’s Vice President of Aerospace Services. “This contract takes advantage of a workforce that has decades of experience in space operations – experience that USA is working to apply to multiple government and commercial customers.”

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USA, Moon Express and David Clark Company Join Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Washington, D.C., Thursday, September 22, 2011 – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce that three companies providing services to the commercial spaceflight industry have joined the Federation as Associate Members: United Space Alliance, David Clark Company, and Moon Express.

John Gedmark, Executive Director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, stated, “We are excited to welcome these three new Associate Members to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.  Each of these companies brings unique expertise and knowledge to advance commercial spaceflight.”
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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.

Space Workers Laid Off as NASA Picks New Direction, Winds Down Shuttle Program

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

Layoffs began last week at key NASA centers and contractors as a result of multiple factors. Some related to the wind down of the space shuttle program. Others resulted from Congressional action that will transition the space agency away from the Constellation program. A smaller number involved NASA budget reductions to one center.

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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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Round of Layoffs Hit Kennedy Space Center

Space Shuttle Atlantis launch, May 11, 2009

Over 258 People Laid Off At KSC
WFTV.COM

A round of layoffs hit Kennedy Space Center’s largest contractor, United Space Alliance, Friday. Over 258 people who were employed by the United Space Alliance are out of work.

Many people volunteered for the layoffs, about 93 percent of the more than 258 laid off did so voluntarily and in many cases with a severance package.

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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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