Despite public perception to the contrary, the layoffs of Shuttle employees in recent months have been of Kennedy Space Center contractors, not NASA personnel.
Most KSC employees have always been contractors, which gave NASA the flexibility to add or release staff based on need.
Florida Today reports that NASA is offering a voluntary buyout to certain employees at KSC to further reduce staff.
Roughly 150 Kennedy Space Center employees are eligible for voluntary buyouts NASA is offering to trim its civil service work force.
The reductions, if fulfilled, would be the first notable drop in the center’s government ranks since the shuttle program’s end this summer, which saw thousands of contractors let go, though agency officials say the two issues aren’t directly related.
“We’re just trying to maintain the level of work force necessary to perform long-range work,” said Grey Hautaluoma, a spokesman at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
According to the article, "KSC had 2,178 civil servants as of Oct. 1, a number that has held steady for years."
The center’s contractor workforce, on the other hand, dropped precipitously with the shuttle program’s end, from 13,000 in early 2009 to a current total of about 6,700.
KSC Director Bob Cabana expects the combined contractor and civil servant work force to climb back to 10,000 in the coming years as work on new commercial space taxis and exploration vehicles ramps up.
Doing basic math ... That means about 8,900 are employed now at KSC, a number that will increase to over 12,000 "in the coming years" as commercial space kicks in.