Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Leading NASA contractor set to cull more than 1,000 jobs

Ramifications connected to the upcoming retirement of NASA's space shuttle fleet are reaching beyond the what, where and whens of delivering supplies to the orbiting International Space Station.

Affecting real people and real jobs back on terra firma, Houston-based United Space Alliance, one of NASA's leading space shuttle contractors, has announced it plans to cull around 15 percent of its total U.S. workforce on October 01 of this year.

Announced in a statement released on Tuesday, that percentage equates to more than 1,000 employees, with 800 to 1,000 expected to go from facilities in Florida, 300 to 400 from Texas, and about 10 from Alabama.

According to United Space Alliance president Virginia Barnes, all workers that lose their jobs will be given severance packages along with assistance in training for future job interviews and career transitions.

Speaking with the BBC News website, Keith Cowling, editor of NASA Watch, has warned there are many more job cuts to come as the shuttles head towards retirement.

“People being laid off now is just the beginning,” he said. “Many more thousands will be laid off as the shuttle programme is wound down.”

There are two officially scheduled shuttle missions remaining on NASA's mission calendar, which will see the aging vehicles withdrawn from service in early 2011.

NASA is still waiting for government approval for a proposed mission extension that would involve a final supply run to the International Space Station in June of 2011. It hopes to have an answer by August.


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