NASA Reducing Space Shuttle Workforce From 6,700 to 1,000

The landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the official ending of NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program marked a bittersweet moment for the 6,700-some shuttle workers tasked with maintaining the space-faring fleet.

NASA began issuing the first of its layoff notices for approximately 3,200 contract workers Friday, the first in a series of cuts scheduled to occur between now and August. NASA plans to drop down to a shuttle de-servicing staff of around 1,000 workers, which will be tasked with prepping the three main shuttles for their new homes in museums around the country.

“We’ve all been through that now in the shuttle program and we’ve accepted the fact that it’s over,” said Mike Leinbach, NASA shuttle launch director, in a briefing following this past Thursday’s Atlantis landing. “The finality of it, there’s no doubt. It’s over now, and that affects a lot of people.”

The three shuttles’ next travels will be a bit less eye-opening than their previous jaunts up into space. Discovery will be sent off to Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Endeavour will live out its days at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, and Atlantis is scheduled for display within the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

As for NASA itself, the agency will turn its focus toward deep space missions in addition to the 15-year goal of putting astronauts on the face of an asteroid–a journey that could require approximately six months of travel time in addition to a large, solar array setup to address daily energy needs.

And even after all the engineering challenges involved with building a spaceship designed for long-term flight, there’s the question of the target itself: NASA still has to pick a particular asteroid suitable for the long journey.

“This is the big step,” said Kent Joosten, chief architect of the Johnson Space Center’s human exploration team, in an interview with the Washington Post. “This is out into the universe, away from Earth’s gravity completely… This is really where you are doing the ‘Star Trek’ kind of thing.”

While there’s hope that some of the laid-off NASA workers will be able transition over to new positions within the agency, and perhaps even contribute to the ambitious new goals NASA faces, the reality is that a number of NASA’s shuttle members now face a challenge that’s perhaps equal to that of launching a vehicle into space: Finding alternate employment in an unforgiving job market.

“This is a machine that we have to retire. It’s a program that’s over,” said Leinbach. “This is the end of the program; people will move on and do well. It’s important, but it’s not the end of the world. The sun will rise again tomorrow.”

via NASA Reducing Space Shuttle Workforce From 6,700 to 1,000 | News & Opinion |

About Saleem Mohammed
PROFESSIONAL PROFILE: I have substantial experience in Healthcare Marketing and PR, Human Resources Management, Medical Staffing, Outsourcing & Backroom Office Establishment and Management, Healthcare Account Management, and Multimedia Marketing. My recruitment experience covers nurses, therapists and other allied healthcare workers that are sourced all over US and overseas. As BDO, I brought a start-up company to its highest revenue mark, expanded its menu of services, designed & streamlined HR procedures and built effective cost-cutting measures. SPECIALTIES include, but is not limited to: Healthcare Marketing, Human Resources Management, Medical Staffing, Staffing Coordinator, Healthcare Recruitment, Account Management, Business Development, Healthcare Sales and Pricing Strategy, HR Training & Development, Career Coaching

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