Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
NASA Space

Layoff Anxiety Is Top Risk To Space Shuttle 178

pickens writes "Florida today reports that as NASA marches toward its final two shuttle flights, the safety of the crew rests with workers who know every bolt they turn, every heat-shield tile they inspect, brings them that much closer to the unemployment line in April 2011 raising concerns that people might jump ship early if other job opportunities open up. 'We've been most concerned about maintaining and sustaining the knowledge necessary to safely conduct mission operations,' says Retired Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Dyer. But shuttle work force surveys show a fierce loyalty and a dedication to sticking it out as long term employees want to be there when the last shuttle touches down. 'They love being part of NASA and what NASA does, and they love being part of the space shuttle program. And they want to be a part of it as long as we're doing the kinds of things that we're doing,' says LeRoy Cain, NASA's deputy shuttle program manager."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Layoff Anxiety Is Top Risk To Space Shuttle

Comments Filter:
  • look up warn act (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:00AM (#33331460)

    look up warn act

    WARN Act layoff notice laws require employers to give employees notification before mass layoffs or plant closings

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:35AM (#33331644)

    Well, I'm very sorry to say that aluminium electrolytic capacitors are not used in space vehicles. Their inherent poor reliability (even the best japanese ones) and tendency to outgas nasty things makes them a no-no. You can find some steel-cased, hermetically sealed ones in jet planes, but not in space applications.
    And by the way, lots of american semiconductor manufacturers have their rad-hard/space-grad fab located in the US.

  • Re:look up warn act (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:15AM (#33331872)

    look up warn act

    WARN Act layoff notice laws require employers to give employees notification before mass layoffs or plant closings

    Or just pay them for the notification time & let them go immediately. I know because it happened to me :(

  • Re:look up warn act (Score:4, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:22AM (#33331920) Homepage Journal

    Yep.The WARN Act is practically pointless. You can always tell when massive layoffs are starting because the company will do things like institute a freeze on all hiring, stop buying office supplies, refuse requests for purchase orders, cancel projects previously thought to be important, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:24AM (#33331936)

    the John F. Kennedy Space Center (in Florida).



  • by strack ( 1051390 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:32AM (#33331992)
    exotic chemical mixtures? its gasoline and liquid oxygen. you strike me as the sort of person who dosent know what hes talking about, so hes just spouting bullshit.
  • Re:Why? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @11:45AM (#33332058)

    When you see the orbiters they look like they just rolled out of the factory. Anything you read about orbiters deteriorating is a lie. They are pristine.

    While I agree that they may be in near perfect flight condition, this photo [wikimedia.org] of Discovery prior to entering the VAB (meaning after leaving the Shuttle Processing Facility) for STS-131 says otherwise. Yes, it's in pristine MECHANICAL condition, but to say it LOOKS pristine is a bit farfetched.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @12:45PM (#33332422)

    I have had vast experience working STS ascent GN&C in the 80's and early 90's. I worked about 22 missions and I can tell you the Shuttle has never been able to put 65,000 lbs in polar orbit. The best it could do for a 90 degree launch would be about 35,000 lbs. It would also have had to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base since you can't launch polar from KSC due to abort restrictions. Vandenberg was never used due to the Challenger disaster and the launch pad there was converted to launch Delta IVs so you couldn't even do a Shuttle polar mission.

    BTW, even though the original design specs called for 65,000lbs, the Shuttle has never been able to put 65,000 lbs in orbit heading due east from KSC. It gets a maximum of 55,250 lbs.

    Even though I loved working on the Shuttle program, I think we would have been better off building a separate crew transport and improving the heavy lift capability we already had.

  • by 6ULDV8 ( 226100 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @01:33PM (#33332796)

    Gasoline, huh? I guess that big tank of liquid hydrogen is just used for buoyancy.

    From http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/newton/askasci/1995/environ/ENV165.HTM [anl.gov]

    "Author: bob w whitbeck
    What kind of fuel do space shuttles use?

    Response #: 1 of 1
    Author: jade hawk
    It depends on what you mean by "space shuttle" -- the official name is Space
    Transportation System (ever wonder what the "STS" stands for in the mission
    names?). For launch the STS uses 2 systems: the main engines in the orbiter
    that burn hydrogen and oxygen from the external tank (the great big orange
    cylinder that the orbiter is attached to for launch); and the SRBs (Solid
    Rocket Boosters) that burn a solid rocket propellant that is a mixture of
    powdered aluminum and ammonium perchlorate. These are used only for launch.
    The orbiter (what most people think of as "the Space Shuttle") has two
    propulsion systems: OMS (Orbital Maneuvering System) used to change orbit and
    to return to earth, and the RCS (Reaction Control System) used for station-
    keeping and attitude control. Both systems burn hydrazine with oxygen."

  • Hydrazine is used because it is hypergolic [wikipedia.org].... this is a very nice property for thrusters that need to be used on demand in short pulses for station keeping but it isn't the primary fuel that is used for getting into space. The main fuel being used for the 1st stages of most rockets today is simply kerosene and liquid oxygen..... the original poster was correct.

    As for the difference between kerosene and gasoline, I'll leave it to a petroleum engineer to explain the difference if you care... both are hydrocarbons derived from crude oil. While I suppose it would be possible to fuel an entire rocket on this stuff, it wouldn't be the most ideal propellant.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning@netzero. n e t> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:33PM (#33334284) Homepage Journal

    The biggest expense for the US is military.

    This used to be true. Now the largest expense in the federal government is interest on federal debt, with the #2 largest expense being Social Security payments, and #3 is health care benefits to federal workers (and this was before Obamacare went into effect).

    Military spending is now #6 or #7 on the list of top fiscal outlays, and falling. Appropriations for NASA hardly even show up on the pie graphs at all, and this year are down to 0.1% of the federal budget.

    You point is well taken, but military spending shouldn't be made out to be the bad guy here even though they still do get a huge hunk of change every year.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrWa ( 144753 ) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @10:02PM (#33336482) Homepage
    Link to data showing military spending at #6 or #7, because this [onlineforextrading.com] shows you are WAY off in that regard.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll