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.