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.

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Filed under: NASA • Space
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Nighthhaaawk

    Want to go to the moon?? – Learn to speak Chinese! Just remember what was said during the original space race – "the country that controls the moon controls the high ground!". Our so called "leadership" of BOTH PARTIES has failed us as a nation with all their school yard rhetoric! Please congress and the executive branch – how about acting like adults and get our country back to leadership!

    July 27, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ralf Ferreira da Silva

    how nice to travel in a rocket to see the moon up close that we all hope will be able to walk in an animal that ...

    July 27, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Not Rocket Science

    panzerman13: Wall Street bailouts, 3 wars overseas in Muslim countries are a much bigger waste of taxpayers money. Funding NASA and universities would not be a problem if government didn't waste so much on overspending themselves on 1st class plane trips for conferences, 5 star hotel stays, extra security for family members during their vacations, lavish restaurant bills paid for by taxpayers so they can eat, drink & socialize at expensive restaurants, not to mention all our senators & congress officials don't pay anything for their medical insurance or care. Nice perks that are running this country into the ground. Tax credits for business who hire & get tax credits only to fire twice the people they hired to get those tax credits. Outsourcing American jobs, funding illegal aliens like Calif. recently providing grants to illegals to go to universities. Free medical care for illegals while taxpayers pay the bill. Just a few reasons why this country lost their precious space program. It became redundant while funding wars & supporting illegals somehow ended up on our politicians priority list. The poor pay for the stupid mistakes the so-called educated continue to make. So stop complaining. Neither Wall Street nor the Federal Govt produce a single thing, except debt at taxpayer expense..

    July 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JustaThought

    When the space shuttle comes back down to earth, we should all dress up like apes..

    July 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotRocketScience

      And some won't even need that ape suit.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Just a thought

    I was thinking how nothing lasts, but it’s never too late to be whoever. All you need is the strength to start all over again.

    NASA has provided those workers leaving with a generous amount of severance pay ( for most workers) to help them through this transition in their lives. Not to mention the continued support programs & job fairs dedicated only to laid-off NASA employees. Don't forget they get unemployment benefits like everyone else who lost their job. Count your blessings folks.

    Commander Chris Ferguson on behalf of his crew said:

    “Although we got to take the ride, we sure hope that everybody who has ever worked on, or touched, or looked at, or envied or admired a space shuttle was able to take just a little part of the journey with us.”

    August 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. does anyone care

    Doubt anyone really cares about these laid off shuttle workers who had since 2004 to prepare for the massive layoffs knowing the shuttle program was going to end by 2011. These people got a lot more benefits than the thousands of unemployed workers after working years for their employers. All I can say is Count Your Blessings people, move on and deal with it like the rest of us. Good luck starting over finding new careers.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Change is Good

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh, Poor babies need help finding decent jobs while everyone else is supposed to feel sorry for them. They must not be too smart if they need help finding a job. So sad =( my bad. They all had opportunities to set up their new careers years ago knowing way back in 2004 that the shuttle program was ending around 2010. If they took all that time for granted let them wait in the unemployment lines with the rest of us who never had 6 years advance notice of our job ending. Never forget George W.Bush's words..."We cannot find any justification to continue the deficit funding of a program that has no application other that proving that with enough money America can do anything," said Bush. "The whole world knows that already, so why keep spending money on it," he added. For what it's worth, We can make the best or the worst of it. Like everyone else who have lost their jobs, may they find the strength to start all over again.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joseph Beary

    "NASA hopes to shuttle former employees into new jobs" Makes one wonder how educated these folks are if they need loads of help finding jobs.

    A wise teacher once said, Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    Time for these shuttle workers to become the mature educated adults we thought they were and let them learn to find their own jobs. Then again, that crazy, diaper-wearing would-be murderer, ex-astronaut Capt. Lisa Nowak was banished from NASA after she attacked a romantic rival & was recently kicked out of the Navy as well. She exposed the other side of these so-called trained personnel. Her 20 years career shattered in a moment for stupidity & unrestrained jealousy.

    August 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RonG

    NASA is holding a career fair to help its former contract employees to find new jobs now that the shuttle program has ended.

    SORRY FOLKS, BUT YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID!!!!!! Can't these folks figure out how to find their own jobs.

    August 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Charles F. Bolden, Jr

    ‘Dear employees,

    With melting heart I am making this announcement that for many of you will be your last fire evacuation drill. Due to the recession the company are laying off almost fifty percent of staff. When you move back into the building some of you will discover that your swipe pass card will no longer give you access to the office. If you are among those laid off, go home and all your belongings will be couriered to you tomorrow. The management took this approach to save on overloading the email system with layoff notifications and goodbye messages and also to avoid any violent outbursts inside the office. Hope you have a nice career ahead … please move forward and try your swipe card.’

    August 9, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marcos

    Single line people. Forget the guilt & shame to why your space program became redundant and think positive. There's always plenty of jobs available at McDonald's. Reach for the moon. Scratch that, your commander-in-chief wants to reach an asteroid and land on Mars. Boldly go where no man wants to or needs to go.

    August 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maxwell

    Bush killed the Space Shuttle program only after the Columbia Shuttle disaster and being told by NASA investigators that the aging fleet was becoming unreliable and unstable. That's when the US focused on a New breed of manned space flight and a replacement with the Constellation program, manned space travel to the international space station, the moon and even mars.

    After nearly 12 Billion dollars were invested in the replacement program, President Obama canceled the Constellation program and eliminated the United States from any future manned space flight.

    So you decide... who destroyed the United States manned space program and damaged the most feared, the most envied and the most advanced space program in the world.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Peter

    As a now retired NASA engineer I can easily say that the NASA’s Constellation program , the successor to the aging space shuttle – faced critical problems and found it would never work as intended, according to a congressional report by the Government Accountability Office. In case you forgot: The Constellation program did have serious design flaws from the beginning so deserved to be canceled. NASA leaders are to blame for not planning the transition better : for one the 5 year gap between the retirement of the shuttle and the first planned Ares launch in 2015. During that time, NASA would have to pay Russia to launch American astronauts to the space station. Leadership failure was the main problem at Nasa.

    Time to move on to greener pastures since the space program as we've come to know is over. Thank you for the many great years and opportunity to be a part of shuttle history.

    August 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Martin

    Maxwell: The answer is clear that Bush ended the future of space flight.

    The report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, acknowledged a list of difficult issues, especially with the Ares I rocket, which it said was prone to violent shaking on liftoff and might not have enough power to reach orbit with a capsule full of astronauts. The Orion crew capsule was too heavy for Ares' lifting capacity. "Both the Orion and Ares I vehicles have a history of weight and mass growth," the report stated.
    So far, there's no company capable of producing a heat shield big enough to protect the Orion capsule when it re-enters Earth's atmosphere. Proposals to use thermal tiles like the ones on the shuttle are still in the design stage.

    Finally, "According to NASA, at this time, existing test facilities are insufficient to adequately test the Ares I and Orion system." In effect, the report says, NASA has a design for the Constellation project – but as yet there's no assurance that all the components will work as planned.

    August 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Martin

    "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."

    Wondering the same thing myself of why these so-called highly educated ex-shuttle workers need so much help and support to find new jobs. If they're as skilled as they say then shouldn't they be capable enough to find new jobs even in a tough economy. After all they are not uneducated like many of them openly stated about construction workers and car assembly workers. Its good that they finally realize they're no better than anyone else.

    August 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
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