NASA hopes to shuttle former employees into new jobs
NASA workers look on as space shuttle Atlantis is towed back to its hangar on July 21 at Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
July 26th, 2011
11:38 AM ET

NASA hopes to shuttle former employees into new jobs

NASA is holding a career fair in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Tuesday to help its former contract employees to find new jobs now that the shuttle program is ending.

Among those who will be rubbing elbows with government and private recruiters are some of the engineers NASA hired to maintain the shuttle's 20 different systems - "every part of the shuttle that required a team of engineers and technicians to get it ready for the next flight," said Lisa Malone, a NASA spokeswoman."

Over the years, NASA has been downsizing those teams, with Cape Canaveral seeing the most layoffs, including 1,500 on Friday, Malone said.

"I would say the lion's share of (the layoffs) has been in Florida," she said.

According to a fact sheet from NASA, the agency plans to lay off 2.223 Florida "shuttle prime contractors" in fiscal 2011, for a total of 4,371 layoffs in Florida since 2008. At the end of the year, NASA expects to have laid off 9,425 shuttle contractors nationwide since 2008.

In addition to engineers, NASA's  contract employees included accountants, human resources personnel, "everything it takes to run an organization," Malone said.

Workers have known about impending layoffs, in some respect, since President George W. Bush announced the end of the shuttle program, Malone said. She said NASA and the recruiters hope about 1,000 former employees will come to the career fair and apply for new jobs.

Post by:
Filed under: NASA • Space
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Ian

    Funny to see people suggesting that we should be spending this money on cancer research, feeding the hungry, etc. Noble causes, but I'd be willing to guess that most people haven't donated to any of those causes recently, and if that's the case, then these people are a bit twisted for taking advantage of these situations for winning an argument..

    But if I'm wrong, and you are a good samaritan like that, I would be surprised if you feel that half a penny of each tax dollar (NASA's budget) is simply asking too much for incredible innovations.

    July 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Astro-boy

      Besides, as Former Shuttle Worker and others have posted, many results of NASA have gone to helping such as weather satellites (aid in famines caused by droughts and floods) and imaging equipment (MRI, ultrasound, etc) which are used in treating cancer and other ailments.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meki60

      yeh, and most people are probably not aware of the 100s of NASA patents that have benefited industry in the products that we use everyday. Its a shame that it ended.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • GYobb

      Biffer2000. Think about it.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hunter

    Now that we have shut down the shuttle program I am wondering who will maintain all of our military communications satellites or put new ones in orbit...............China perhaps?

    July 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • richp

      Makes one wonder whats been flying out of area 51 for the past 5+ years.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sluggohead

      Most of them weren't launched on the shuttles anyway. Why would we have China launch them for us?

      July 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      You don't need a shuttle to put satellites in orbit. Other countries have done so without shuttles and we were doing it long before there was a shuttle. I think we had a similar launch from the US just recently to put a satellite in orbit.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Astro-boy

      Right, we can put most satellites into orbit using conventional rockets, but the shuttle was a great help in maintaining them. It's real nice to be able to pull up to the satellite, capture it and pull it into the shuttle bay for repairs, replacements, etc. Not that this can't be done, but it's a lot easier.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustThinkinOutloud

      In Soviet Russia, military satellites maintain YOU!

      July 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Astro-boy

      Oh Yakov (JustThinkinOutloud), how we've missed you!

      July 26, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      The area 51 folks may have it right. Although the truth is most likely not a dramatic as alien tech or even manned at this point.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Spacex. Go read.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      The only satellites NASA launched were those that required human help. The other HUNDREDS are launched by the Airforce using rockets.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.r.r.

      The shuttle has not launched military sats in a long time. It has been atlas or delta that have done that. And shortly, we will see SpaceX join that . They will allow 2-3x larger sats for 1/3 of the price.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Shuttles didn't send Military satellites into space or very rarely did. Most satellites do not require a human once it has lifted off of the launch pad. They are not taking down Cape Canaveral if that is what you're thinking, they are only retiring the shuttle fleet. All our robot space missions will still be launching from Florida and elsewhere along with the military satellites. Don't worry GPS will still work haha.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The_Mick

    The U.S. media is carefully avoiding saying what BBC said last weekend: "America is becoming a bystander of Space programs." It will be Europe and Asia that produce the next leaps-forward in same-day surgery procedures, computers, communications, etc. while we keep telling ourselves "We're the best!"

    July 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • richp

      It is much easier to level the world playing field by dragging down the top economies while also bringing up the bottom 3rd world economies.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.r.r.

      Cool. So EU will have multiple human-rated launchers in 3 years? and they are putting up multiple stations in space? Or do you just not have a clue of what you are talking about?

      July 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex


      What he is saying is, while we bicker about 1% of our budget going to "wasteful" NASA, other countries see the value that space exploration can bring and are properly funding it. I think we spent 17 billion last year for all of NASA. That's a sad figure for the country that put a man on the moon 40+ years ago.

      While that bickering is happening, we still have pundits like Newt that proclaim "America is Exceptional!" anything but maybe exceptionally gullible to believe talking points over actions. We were only exception during his "golden years" because the rest of Europe and the developed world was leveled because of something called WWII. Now we are not only competing but competing on unfair grounds because of income disparities between countries (rather pay a Malaysian $1/hour than an American $20/hr). So we went from having a handicap to giving everyone else one except us.

      But if you think we own "Multiple space stations" and truly believe we'll have a CHEAPER working replacement in 3 years then you're probably one of those bickers. (It's called the International Space station for a reason, and Mire is gone and was not owned by us).

      July 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. T3chsupport

    'Job Creation' seems an awful lot more like 'Job Elimination'.
    Where are the jobs??

    July 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • BuckeyeJim

      India and China. More profits if the corporations sub it out that way.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    China says, "Thanks for the talent, NASA"

    July 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Symera

      You said it Chris – these folks are going to be jumping ship as fast as possible. A perfect example of intellectual capital drain – so sad –

      July 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davethecanuck

      Lol, my thoughts exactly.
      I don't think the average American has an inkling of the industry or the experience they are scattering into the wind.
      Those who seem to be motivating the government by screaming the loudest probably don't have much education past grade 10... these are the people who call the shots now.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TampaMike

    Maybe China or Russia will hire a few of those engineers, since the gool ol USA no longer has a manned space program. Our freaking "leaders" can't even keep the FAA running – let alone NASA.

    July 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMD

      Yeah. Like we "didn't have a manned space program" after Apollo. We managed.

      Why didn't you complain to President Bush back in 2004, when he cancelled the Shuttle program with a plan that included at least five years of no US manned flights? And then he and several Republican-led Congresses gutted the replacement program until it was impossible for them to put humans back into orbit before 2017-18.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Good ole dubya also wanted to completely monopolize the space industry by giving everything to Boeing and MacDonnel Douglas rather than contract to whoever produced the best service and product. Hardly "free market economics".

      July 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.r.r.

      Oddly, America will have a bigger program than the entire rest of the world combined in about 3 years. That is because we will have multiple space stations and multiple rockets. In addition, we will have the largest rockets going.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tui Bara

    He provides jobs for federal related cause like war, NASA but ignores the private sector where millions are still unemployed..his cost effective effort is still in vain, though still spending billion dollar a day to slaughter Muslims, indulge in war crimes and inhumanity and will go down in history as the .the most dumbest in American history..

    July 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les

      Sorry, but most of the layoffs are hitting people in the private sectors. There may be some layoffs at NASA but most of them are going to be the Prime contractors and other contractors that did the shuttle work.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      -Ignores the private sector-
      That's funny. They contracted SPACEX to take care of most if not all of the launches to ISS manned and unmanned.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    Former Shuttle Worker,

    Apparently the NASA had no part in the creation of Spell Check, which you failed to use. I would have expected better of an Aeronautical Engineer. benafites, travle, fule, staralization, satalite, thermomiters, dyalisis, safty...Really.

    July 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Relax, he just got laid off. Probably drunk right now.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • A. White

      You apparently don't know many engineers. Genius at math, spelling...not so much.

      July 27, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Les

    It's all stop Armegedon! I mean next stop – landing on a Asteroid!

    July 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NoWhiner

    Shut up!

    July 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David

    Considering it cost nearly half a billion a shot....we can do it better and cheaper. We have done it better and cheaper. Stop thinking that retiring a 30 year old spacecraft is the end of the world. Spacex is in line to shoot off Falcon 9 rockets that can carry 7 people in their dragon capsule. it costs 1/4 of the amount of a space launch...

    July 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.r.r.

      Actually, the costs of a shuttle launch is around 1 billion/launch if you do 4 a year. It was 3.75 B if it was just one launch / year. And 3 billion for those years when we did not launch post challenger/columbia.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Radar Engineer

      The retirement isn't the problem. The lack of any replacement is the crux. Killing the billions invested in the Orion program (originally on track with NASA's replacement / next step) is the final death kiss to our space program. All we have now is a lot of talk about a program that we hope someday will work. Oh, here's $5 to do it. Yeah. let's call it what it really is. US Space program is now dead. Put down the cool aid. Put on the big girl panties and just admit it.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thomas

    Why don't they just buy four or five of those shuttles that they used in James Bond's Moonraker, or the two they used in Armegedon, I'm sure they have low miles........ ; )

    July 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michelle

    I have to see the post by "Former Shuttle Worker". Some of those misspellings are so bad, I almost can't tell what the real word was supposed to be. Remember though, scientists don't have to be good at spelling; they just have to be good in math and science.

    July 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill from GA

    But just think, we're NOT raising taxes on the 'job-creating'. rich!! Or the oil industries!!

    We got our priorities, you know!

    July 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amused

      Yeah, we just need to be patient and wait for them to get around to actually creating some jobs for us. Remember, they have only had eight or nine years to start creating jobs. I guess we shouldn't "rush" them huh? After all, it takes a lot of time and effort to be a self-centered filthy rich SOB!

      July 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JLS639

    I met this sub-orbital ballistics propulsion engineer from NASA and let me tell you, he was not exactly a rocket scientist.

    July 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8