Former NASA Space Shuttle Engineers Still Looking for Work
July 17, 2012 7:00 AM
comment(s) - last by
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.
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RE: Just wait...
7/17/2012 9:59:10 PM
No one EVER does anything on their own.
Gotta wonder, do you people have a website where you go to where Obama's campaign team gives you the talking points for the following few days? That's almost a perfect spin on what Obama said a couple days ago about entrepreneurs not doing it on their own.
Of course, my family took care of me when I was young, but I can tell you this: After that point, in my working career, no one, not a damn soul, is responsible for my successes (or failures) except for me. The government and all its loopholes merely slow me down, and its taxes lop off chunks of every dollar I earn through my labor and my wit to support the exploding numbers of people on disability, welfare, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid.
There's also free-market equivalents to some of what you're talking about, like tornado's. If you live in an area where they're common, and don't have insurance.... That's like living on the Florida coast and not having insurance that'd cover hurricanes and flooding. We're supposed to shed a tear for the beach bums, but who sheds a tear for me, the poor fool that pays taxes to bail out those beach bums or residents in Tornado Alley that somehow get caught off guard when a tornado strikes?
And you can be about hard work all you want, but liberalism fails when liberal theory meets cold hard reality, and in reality you get welfare queens. Not that welfare queens would understand it, but they're making semi-rational economic choices; why work hard when they can take it easy and game the system?
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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