Shuttle Layoff’s Announced

Florida Today’s Flame Trench is carrying the story about the coming layoff’s by United Space Alliance (USA) in USA Announces Plans For Final Shuttle Layoff’s. The numbers that USA has said will be laid-off this summer are staggering.

  • Florida: 1,850 – 1,950.
  • Texas: 750 – 800.
  • Alabama: 30 – 40.

Most of Florida’s layoff’s will occur in July.


  1. Dude …

    Yes these job losses are sad. OTOH, in a TYPICAL month in the US, about 400 thousand people will lose their jobs. The 2800 shuttle jobs you point to represent about one hour of the monthly loss. I grant that it’s unfortunate that dedicated and skilled personnel are losing their livelihood, but that is the essential point of a recession — hundreds of thousands or even millions of dedicated, skilled employees must be cast aside to rebuild their broken lives while an economy which needs them no longer slowly regenerates. There’s a large tragedy occuring out there affecting most of American society; space industry losses are just one strand among many.

  2. The Shuttle job losses are independent of the recession and instead are due to the closure of the Space Shuttle program… not a closure due to a slow economy. The real loss here is that when people are laid off from the space industry, the pattern is that they rarely return to it in the future. When the next human-rated launch system comes around (in a few years) and the local staffing boosts are needed again, the current generation of talent will need to be replaced. Perhaps there is something good about that, bringing in the bright young superstars to pioneer a new method of accomplishing the same challenges. But, at the same time, there are plenty of skills required that will not be any different than the prior launch system, and thus the loss of the current generation of talent will likewise slow the pace of American launch readiness and capability.

  3. I understand that the shuttle-related layoffs are more political and policy-driven than purely economic (I spent 20 years in aerospace, so believe me, I understand the point). What I wanted to indicate is that from an employee’s viewpoint, a layoff is a layoff, regardless of cause, and that the undesirable aspects of layoffs, such as loss of skills, apply in both cases. The guy with a tire store who has laid off two high school grads can make the same points about needing to eventually hire and retrain two more people isn’t that different from a shuttle manager distressed because he’s forced to layoff people with 20 years experience sizing TPS thickness — it’s a shitty business all the way round.

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