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Tuesday, October 07, 2008


NASA Expected to Cut Fewer Jobs

NASA is expected to cut fewer Florida jobs at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral than it had originally expected to in 2010. The planned layoffs are directly tired to the retirement of a shuttle that will happen during that year.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Congress has been informed that the worst case scenario of 6,400 lost jobs that the agency said they expected in April has been re-evaluated. Some officials are now saying that NASA is expecting to reduce this figure by at least 1,000 fewer jobs, making the highest number possible to be somewhere around less than 5,000.

NASA has declined to comment on the number of jobs to be cut until later in the week, when it will be releasing its improved employment forecast for the Kennedy Space Center on October 8th. Congressional staff members have said that the decrease in the numbers that the agency is expect to announce are due to “transition” jobs that NASA was incapable of factoring into the equation back in April.

The Florida jobs that may be cut in 2010 are the result of NASA retiring the shuttle in order to start the Constellation moon rocket program, which the agency says is not expected to begin its flights till 2015. NASA will only be able to start this program if it is able to conquer budget and technical issues that have been problems with the program’s Ares I rocket and the Orion capsule.

NASA’s Cape Canaveral location is not the only one expected to cut jobs when the shuttle is retired. Others include the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. Out of all of these, the Kennedy Space Center is expected to have to cut more jobs than any of the others.

“Out best guess has been 3,000 to 4,000, not 6,000 to 7,000,” NASA Chief Mike Griffin told a Senate committee back in June. According to him, the first estimate did not take into consideration around 3,000 jobs that would be created by new programs like the Ares V heavy-lift rocket and the Altair lunar lander.

Officials in Florida have tried to discourage NASA from trying to fix the losses of long-term, high skilled jobs with temporary positions for construction or demolition work. NASA once again declined to comment on the number of jobs will be cut or what type of work the “transition” jobs will be until the official figures are released.

“NASA will submit the Workforce Transition Strategy report to Congress on Wednesday,” said NASA spokesman Michael Cabbage. “We will be happy to comment on the report after members of Congress have had an opportunity to review its content.”


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