Group Sounds Alarm as Sounding Rocket Engineers Set to Lose Jobs

Engineers lose jobs at Wallops flight facility

Scientists who use the Wallops Flight Facility to get data from spaceflights were alarmed to learn that up to 30 engineers designing rockets got pink slips this week, according to their report.

The defense contractor, Northrop Grumman, terminated its relationship with subcontractor Orbital Sciences Corp. on July 1. The two had shared a 10-year contract with NASA to launch sounding rockets at Wallops. The vessels record scientific measurements during a suborbital flight.

A report was produced after a June 19 meeting by NASA’s Sounding Rocket Working Group — a 10-person committee of researchers and two representatives from the Goddard Space Flight Center — which claims the decision will have “serious and lasting repercussions” that delay space research and technological development across the USA.

“This relatively small engineering team represents a significant fraction of the NASA sounding rocket corporate memory,” the report states.

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