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Tue, Sep 20, 2005

NASA To Lay Off About 2,000 Workers On Way To Moon, Mars And Beyond

Space Agency Hopes To Make Cuts Through Attrition

In the process of fulfilling President Bush's vision of a space agency that reaches to the Moon, Mars and Beyond, NASA will paradoxically have to pink-slip some 2,000 workers over the next year, according to published reports.

That startling hint came from senior NASA managers quoted by the Huntsville, AL, Times, as NASA looks at shifting gears from flying shuttle missions on orbital missions and jaunts to the International Space Station to flying missions to the moon by 2018.

The issue was also addressed by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin on NASA-TV September 8th.

"Inevitably, I think you can look forward to having fewer people on staff at NASA a year from now than there are today and I think we just need to face up to that," he said.

To accomplish the cuts it sees as necessary, NASA plans to expand a program of buyout incentives and retirements. If the space agency has its way, there won't be any layoffs. So managers are reportedly now trying to assess the skills of their 17,086 workers and figure out who will stay... and who will go.

Already, Congress has authorized NASA to offer buy-outs to about 425 workers at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.

Rep. Bud Cramer (D-AL), told the Times Marshall employment will "remain about the same. I'm not as concerned about (layoffs) as a I was earlier in the year when programs were being slashed by NASA and nothing was following on to replace them. I see nothing to be concerned about when it comes to layoffs or job losses. Other centers might have programs slashed, but I think we are in good shape with Marshall."

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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