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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 MadMan007 on 7/17/2012 12:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
I don't want to price myself out of the market.

That's such a silly thing to say. You don't 'price yourself out of the market' solely by making more money *now*. If you were to go ahead and spend all that additional money and come to rely on it then yeah, but if you ever need to work for 'market prices' again (which you ought to be happy to do given your economic philosophy) then you're just back where you are except you've made more money in the meantime.

It makes about as much sense to say that as people who say they don't want to increase their income because they'll be in a higher tax bracket.

RE: And they wanted what?
By Spuke on 7/17/2012 12:33:52 PM , Rating: 3
Rec77, don't limit yourself in the workplace. I make about $75k myself and could take a pay cut if I had to as about $10k of that goes into my retirement anyways. Also, if you're moving to an area where the cost of living is lower, you won't notice the pay cut. I don't know if these engineers have thought of that.

RE: And they wanted what?
By FITCamaro on 7/17/2012 12:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
Florida's cost of living is already pretty low.

RE: And they wanted what?
By FITCamaro on 7/17/2012 12:39:19 PM , Rating: 3
What I mean is there are some who constantly change jobs in order to push their salaries higher and higher. I don't do that.

RE: And they wanted what?
By Spuke on 7/17/2012 1:37:23 PM , Rating: 2
I see. I don't do that either.

RE: And they wanted what?
By Ammohunt on 7/17/2012 2:58:32 PM , Rating: 2
If you have skills that are in demand and have ambition whats wrong with that? Its foolish to work in a position for decades only to be spun out into a market where you dated skills are useless. Changing positions/jobs every 3-5 years ensures gainful employment and relevant skills. I worked at one place for 5 years switch jobs twice in a year as opportunities presented themselves gathered current in demand skills and tacked on over $15k a year not to mention the privileged of working for one of the top software/hardware companies in the world.

RE: And they wanted what?
By Spuke on 7/17/2012 3:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
I think he means changing jobs JUST to push your salary higher. Not doing it to keep skills relevant although in my field, you're always doing something new because of new tech so staying with a company doesn't always mean stagnation. In the last 10 years, I have worked for three different gov contractors and presently work as a civil service employee. I didn't switch because it was more money (when I switched the pay remained the same for the most part...I did get raises while in the jobs), I switched to do something new.

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