Friday, March 30, 2012

"60 Minutes" to Look at Space Coast Job Losses



Two weeks after 60 Minutes profiled SpaceX and commercial space, the newsmagazine visits the Space Coast to look at the job losses after the end of the Space Shuttle program.

The final Space Shuttle mission last summer spelled the end of work for 7,000 people at the Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County, Fla. Scott Pelley talks to some of those people and also examines the ripple effect on the local economy caused by those lost incomes in a 60 Minutes report to be broadcast Sunday, April 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

I hope Scott Pelley tells the full story — namely that the Space Shuttle program was cancelled by President Bush in January 2004 after the Columbia accident. It was announced that the Shuttle would fly only to finish the International Space Station, and then the Shuttle would be retired.

The people of Brevard County had seven years' notice that the end was coming, and many did little to prepare for the inevitable until the final flights.

In any case, NASA is not a guaranteed government-job-for-life employment agency. It provides a service and has always used contractors based on need. Pretty much all those who lost their jobs at the end of the Shuttle program were contractors. NASA civil servants were transferred to other jobs in the agency.

4 comments:

  1. NASA civil servants were transferred to other jobs in the agency????

    Check again - most of them are still there, doing nothing

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  2. Oh, one more thing...the cancellation may have been started by Bush, but Obama did NOTHING to prevent it. Let's place blame where it really belongs.

    May our once-great space program rest in peace.

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  3. astronaut123 wrote:

    "Oh, one more thing...the cancellation may have been started by Bush, but Obama did NOTHING to prevent it. Let's place blame where it really belongs."

    Why should Obama have prevented the cancellation of the Shuttle? it was a "complex and risky system," to quote the CAIB report, and deserved to be cancelled. You can read more at:

    http://spaceksc.blogspot.com/2011/07/complex-and-risky-system.html

    Furthermore, at the time Obama took office, NASA had spent five years shutting down the Shuttle program by putting out of business the second- and third-tier Shuttle contractors and suppliers. A 2009 analysis showed it would have taken at least three years to start up all those contracts again. Meanwhile, NASA would be spending $3 billion a year just to keep all those Shuttle contractors to polish the chrome. That's money that would have been diverted from the Shuttle's successor. Even then, it would ignore the original reason why the Shuttle was cancelled -- it's a complex and risky system.

    Obama said he would close the gap in which we rely on Russia. His administration is trying to do that, although Congress keeps cutting the funding, so the blame really lies with Congress.

    And in April 2010, Obama introduced a $40 million proposal to help with jobs transition here in the Space Coast, but Congress failed to pursue it -- largely because of Republicans blocking it in Congress:

    http://spaceksc.blogspot.com/2011/04/congress-kills-obamas-jobs-plan-for.html

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  4. You are clearly pro-Obama (and anti-contractor!)and what I say here won't make any difference, however the truth needs to be told.

    I don't need to read the CAIB report - I participated in both the Challenger and Columbia investigations.I can say without hesitation that politics played into the CAIB report. (More of the "fox guarding the henhouse").

    The 27 shuttle flights since STS-107 were declared (by the NASA administrator, no less) as the most reliable and trouble-free ever.

    It is truly a national tragedy to retire space vehicles just reaching their prime and putting the "space eggs" in one basket, especially a Russian one.

    BTW, space travel in general is inherently "complex and risky".

    Thank God that didn't stop the Mercury 7 astronauts.

    Mr. Smith, how's the Brevard County ecomomy working for ya?

    ReplyDelete