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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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RE: And they wanted what?
By bah12 on 7/17/2012 10:58:03 AM , Rating: 5
Just to clarify I know there is a lot more need for engineers other than the shuttle itself, I was merely illustrating that if anyone believes that NASA was ran efficiently they are a diluted at best. One of the worst managed agencies. I do truly hope they reinvent themselves to be great again, but for at least the last 2 decades they have been a bloated pig in need of slaughter. I hope they come out leaner at the end of the day, and I really hope that politicians realize what a great organization they utterly ruined by using it as a political pawn instead of giving it clear goals and leaving it the hell alone.


RE: And they wanted what?
By kattanna on 7/17/2012 11:04:44 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I really hope that politicians realize what a great organization they utterly ruined by using it as a political pawn instead of giving it clear goals and leaving it the hell alone.


that is a pleasant dream, isnt it?


RE: And they wanted what?
By Spuke on 7/17/2012 12:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for clearing that up. You've just earned a spot on my "reasonable peoples" list. Not that being on that list is a big deal (cause I'm a nobody) but you've earned my respect all the same.


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