Has anyone heard how many NASA employees have been laid off during the shuttle launch hiatus? Seems like the people who actually work on launches have nothing to do while designers figure out insulation problem. Do these people get laid off or do we all pay them while being seemingly idle. Dont like to see people lose their jobs but is NASA a guaranteed job? Bob
More than likely they get moved off onto other projects ranging from work on other missions to the eternal documentation rat-race. At least at Goddard, they seem to squeeze the juice out of every dollar. There might be the odd case where people have nothing to do but I can't believe it would be a widespread issue. Theres no guaranteed jobs at NASA, particularly if you're a contractor.
I have several relatives on my wife's sde of the family who work at "The Cape." They don't work for NASA, but for the current contractor. IIRC it is USA something or other this year. (When the contract is bid by another company, the new outfit hires all the same people.)
My brother in law is on the shuttle ground crew. He started out fueling the shuttle, but I am not sure of his present duties. They have not been laid off. I don't know what they do, but they stay busy. I think it's a lot like the military, in that they do a lot of training.
When he first got the job, he told us he had to wear a pressure suit because a fuel leak would be deadly to breath. These suits scrub CO2 and add O2, but basically you are rebreathing the same air. He learned real quick to watch his diet, because you don't want to fart in it.
Ron Thompson Was On the Beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast, Now On the Beautiful Florida Space Coast, right beside the Kennedy Space Center, USA
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
--Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
I don't know what's going on this time around, but after the Challenger explosion, Lockheed, which had the contract for ground handling operations at Vandenberg told everybody to down tools and go home, forthwith. Stuff was left out of doors in the weather (as much as we ever get in California) to rot. Lockheed understood that when things started up again there would be money to replace anything that had been degraded, but that they wouldn't be paid anything significant for saving the stuff they already had. I don't know about NASA itself, but I'll bet all the contractors were gone the next day.
BTW when I was at NASA myself, they told me the secret to job security was to get involved in a mission to the outer planets. If you did that, they knew they were going to want you again in five or ten years, and would try to keep you happy until the spacecraft reached its destination. Otherwise, you had no more job security than any other civil service position.
When I was working in Huntsville way back around 1970, NASA did everything possible to keep from laying off NASA employees. I worked on a swing arm refurbishment project and used to have to take EO's to the Von Braun Hilton ( building 4200 ). The first few times I had to wait until the important meeting was able to be interrupted for me to get a signature. Later they just paused in their card playing while the guy signed.
They had had their budget cut enough that they had no funds for any material, so there was hardly anything going on and the NASA employees were bored stiff. Finally they started laying off NASA employees. When I first got to Huntsville, Boeing had about 3500 employees. When I was laid off they were down to about 300. When I left Huntsville, Boeing was down to
I agree there are no guaranteed jobs if you are a contractor.
I think I remember the Red Barn. Not sure. For a while I was working ten hours on weekdays and only eight on Saturdays. A friend and I used to stop at some strip joint on the way home on Saturdays and have a couple of beers. Somehow that made it seem like a longer weekend.
I ended up doing a fair amount of caving while I was there when I wasn't so busy.