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It has been challenging for the engineers to find jobs that pay as well as NASA

Engineers that once earned six-figure incomes with NASA's space shuttle program are now looking for work or taking jobs that are far below their skill level due to the retirement of the Discovery, Endeavor, and Atlantis shuttles. 

Last year, NASA retired each of the three remaining spacecraft in the U.S. space shuttle program, which lasted nearly 30 years. In February 2011, Space Shuttle Discovery was the first of the three to launch on its final mission with Space Shuttle Endeavour following in May 2011. Space Shuttle Atlantis was the last to go in July 2011.

Since the space shuttle fleet's retirement, about 7,400 engineers from the Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County, Florida (also known as the Space Coast) were laid off. Today, there are only 8,500 workers at the Kennedy Space Center total when there used to be around 15,000.

A majority of those laid off were individuals in their 50s and 60s who made in the realm of $80,000 to over $100,000 annually. But now, these engineers are finding it difficult to locate jobs at their skill level that pay as well as NASA did. In fact, local Brevard County employers have asked that the Brevard Workforce, which is an unemployment agency, stop sending ex-space employees to them because they want salaries that are comparable to what they made at the Kennedy Space Center.

"STOP sending former Space Center employees," wrote one local employer. "They have an unrealistic salary expectation."

Aside from money issues, another problem the former engineers are facing is age. Many have been working for the Kennedy Space Center for decades. Other engineering options mainly take in the younger generations.

"Nobody wants to hire the old guy," said Terry White, a 62-year-old ex-project manager for the space shuttle program who was laid off last summer. "There just isn't a lot of work around here. Or if so, the wages are really small."

NASA's space shuttle fleet is gone for good, but some saw hope in the private sector, such as SpaceX. SpaceX is a California-based space technology company that recently stepped in when NASA retired the space shuttle program. Its Dragon spacecraft made history recently when it made the first private spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS).

However, SpaceX didn't require nearly as many employees as NASA did for its space shuttle fleet.

To make up for the loss, many former engineers are stuck having to either retire early, take lower-paying jobs, or collect unemployment.

Source: MSNBC



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Obama creating jobs....NOT
By GotThumbs on 7/17/2012 9:27:21 AM , Rating: 0
While I'm sure NASA was a huge expense. Proper budgeting and management could have created a smoother transition for the agency to move away from space shuttle to other innovative endeavors. Technology and innovation drives commerce and supports high paying jobs. Just think what the local average income dropped down too. Obama's approach was quick and lacked vision. Typical.

Newt was right in that private companies can/will have a greater involvement in the US Space race. People thought it funny when Newt suggested even a moon base, but I think the Joke is on them.....as I'm sure there are other countries and companies who have that as a distant but real goal.

I'd like to see other countries or foreign companies who want to join the space race hire up this men and woman. It would be a huge embarrassment for Obama if these people were hired by other countries..... Obama, the great exporter of US Skilled Labor.




RE: Obama creating jobs....NOT
By Rukkian on 7/17/2012 10:23:15 AM , Rating: 3
So they wont get off their asses and move to where the work is, they expect a job equal to their old job to fall in their laps, and you think they will move to other countries?

There are plenty of jobs for these people if they were willing to move to another location Boeing, Northup, SpaceX I am sure would hire them if they were good at what they were doing.

I am not sure how you can be all over Obama, and then also claim that Newt was right to want a moon base. I do not like most of what obama does, but frivously spending money that we dont have on a moon base would be idiotic at this point. Lets figure out how to live within our means before we poor several trillion more to make a moon base.


RE: Obama creating jobs....NOT
By Reclaimer77 on 7/17/2012 3:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
What do you mean "where the work is"? The United States no longer has a space program. At all. We literally have none. Where exactly should these people move to get to "the work"? China?

quote:
but frivously spending money that we dont have on a moon base would be idiotic at this point. Lets figure out how to live within our means before we poor several trillion more to make a moon base.


Well step 1 of living within in our means is defeating Obama this election. Until that happens, we can forget any talk of fiscal responsibility.


RE: Obama creating jobs....NOT
By Ringold on 7/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Obama creating jobs....NOT
By ilt24 on 7/17/2012 11:48:37 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
While I'm sure NASA was a huge expense. Proper budgeting and management could have created a smoother transition for the agency to move away from space shuttle to other innovative endeavors.


The decision to end the shuttle program and not have a NASA replacement ready at the time of the last shuttle flight was made way before Obama got in office...but that should not have matter as the people that did make the decision to end the space shuttle were sure private companies would swoop all these people up.


RE: Obama creating jobs....NOT
By BigT383 on 7/18/2012 10:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
I'd just like to point out that the Obama administration was that one that wanted to provide incentives for the private sector to get more involved in the menial tasks of space exploration, like resupplying the space station. SpaceX has received a ton of money from NASA because of this.

The administration's goal for NASA is to have them handle the cutting-edge exploration... which is why they're working on a new heavy lift rocket and the Orion capsule. Those saying that the US doesn't have a space program are incorrect- we just don't currently have the capability to launch people into orbit, but that doesn't mean we're not working on something to replace the shuttle in that capacity.

Personally, I love what SpaceX is doing and while I'd love to see NASA reach its former glory the fact that it a) relies on congress for its funding and b) gets a new administrator/direction at least every 8 years makes that unlikely. NASA needs money, direction, and enough time to follow through on a long-term plan.

Plus, they bring some of it on themselves by having big projects consistently run over budget and late.


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