Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Boeing: Contrators face layoffs unless NASA moves faster on Constellation

By Andrea Shalal-Esa

Colorado Springs - March 31 (Reuters) - A senior Boeing official said March 31 American contractors working on manned spaceflight capabilities will have to lay off up to 10,000 workers unless NASA accelerates orders for Constellation.

"The Gap," the period between the end of the Shuttle program in late 2010 and the follow-on Constellation program's first flight in 2015 is a challenge for the companies involved, said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space Exploration.

Shaw said the five biggest contractors in the sector faced combined layoffs of 8,000 to 10,000 workers, the largest among them Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Alliant Techsystems, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and United Space Alliance (a Boeing-Lockheed joint venture.

The companies and their smaller suppliers were urging lawmakers and NASA to accelerate work on Ares 5, the cargo heavy-lift booster, as well as Altair, the Constellation's lunar lander., Shaw said.
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