Thursday, May 7, 2009

Unease at Kennedy Space Center

Robert Block - The Write Stuff - Orlando Sentinel The Obama administration’s pending announcement on Thursday of a comprehensive review of NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon is causing growing anxiety among Kennedy Space Center workers and NASA contractors.

Companies are already starting to report some unease among their employees worried about what the study could mean for the future of NASA’s human space flight program and jobs in Brevard County. Managers are using words like “fear” and “disappointment” to characterize the mood of the workforce and their own ranks.

According to administration officials, NASA will announce it will convene a “blue ribbon” panel to examine, among other issues, whether the Ares I rocket and Orion capsule are the best option to send astronauts into orbit by 2015 after the shuttle retires next year. The panel will start as soon as this month and be finished by September.

Administration sources say the panel will be chaired by Norman Augustine, a retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. and former president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The outcome of the study is critical for Kennedy Space Center, which is looking at as between 3,500 and 10,000 job losses when the space shuttle fleet is mothballed.

Read the posting HERE.

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