Life Science Shut Down Update

Reader comment: "I don't know if this had already been detected or how newsworthy it is, but as of August 16, all Lockheed Martin employees and subcontractors working on the Astrobiology and Space Research Services Programs and Projects contract with NASA Ames Research Center have been formally notified of the invoking of the WARN act. This came from direction from the NASA contracting officer, reflecting the lack of committed Fiscal Year 2006 funding.

Employees, many of whom support ISS life science efforts (for example, the ISS Centrifuge and Life Sciences Glovebox developments in conjunction with JAXA), were formally notified that, without congressional or other intercession, the contract would likely lose an estimated 70-80 people (including many highly experienced manned-space engineers and scientists). This is out of a total contractor strength of approximately 175 full-time-equivalent people, including subcontractors. All laid-off personnel would come out of Ames. Lockheed Martin is one of the biggest if not the biggest contractor at Ames. This loss is in addition to any forthcoming (but probably further off in FY06) RIFs for the civil servant staff.

It has been said that a large group of the civil servants are still under the older Federal rules and are actually waiting for the RIF for its severance aspects. That is also one reason why previous buy-out attempts in the last few years have not been particularly successful in getting civil servants to leave in significant quantities.

Any threads of future exploration or other work to replace these reductions is simply not materializing in the near-term to mitigate these critical hits.

It seems obvious to any observer what kind of impact this core capability loss would have on the future of life sciences and other manned space hardware efforts at Ames, and how that would translate to experience that would be need to be rebuilt from scratch by the time the Moon efforts might really come to pass."

GRC Reader comment: Keith, As part of the "Life Sciences Shutdown," you just posted the following:

It has been said that a large group of the civil servants are still under the older Federal rules and are actually waiting for the RIF for its severance aspects. That is also one reason why previous buy-out attempts in the last few years have not been particularly successful in getting civil servants to leave in significant quantities

We at GRC have been repeatedly told that if a person is annuity-eligible, they will NOT receive any severance but will immediately begin to receive their annuity. In those situations, the individual would be better off taking the buyout.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on September 6, 2005 7:01 AM.

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