United Technologies Corporation (UTC) has announced that it will sell off its rocket engine and wind power businesses to help finance its $16.5 billion purchase of aerospace supplier Goodrich Corporation.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne was the engine maker and supplier for the space shuttle main engines or SSMEs with over 600 employees throughout Florida including Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
The decision to sell was partly due to the end of the 30-year shuttle program. All SSMEs have been shipped out of KSC over the past few months to Stennis Space Center where they will be stored in preparation for possible use in NASA’s Space Launch System or SLS. The few remaining Rocketdyne employees at KSC will install the final three dummy engine bells, know as Replica Shuttle Main Engines or RSMEs into space shuttle Endeavour starting next week.
United Technologies Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Gregg Hayes stated “Without a national space policy, growth will be limited.” Hayes was referring to the lack of a clearly-defined U.S. space exploration policy under the Obama Administration.
Rocketdyne has been owned by UTC for the past seven years, the wind power company, Clipper, is also being sold off because the alternative energy business espoused by the Obama White House – has stalled. Much of the established infrastructure along Florida’s Space Coast has suffered since the end of the shuttle era. With no defined goals for NASA, may companies are either dissolving or, in the case of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, selling off their space assets.