Atlantis' final launch inspires bittersweet celebration, Orlando Sentinel
"Bittersweet is the exact right word," said Titusville Mayor Jim Tulley, who retired from a career with shuttle contractors Lockheed and United Space Alliance. "For the people being laid off, it's a little more bitter than sweet. We're going to look back at this program with just an incredible sense of pride." But first, it's time to party, with celebrations starting Wednesday evening in downtown Titusville, and running through the day and all night Thursday, right up to Friday's 11:26 a.m. launch."
"Soon-to-be-jobless space workers and those who've already lost their jobs are now competing for work in a labour market where more than one in 10 is unemployed. And the Space Coast is still reeling from the housing crisis, making it tougher for workers to sell their homes and move elsewhere for a job. 'Everything is taking a turn for the worst, it seems like,' said Kevin Smith, local president of the union for space centre firefighters, paramedics and workers at emergency landing sites. 'What little is out there, everybody is competing for.'
"The loss of space technology jobs means the loss of very high paid jobs" Fishkind told WMFE, "so it has larger than normal consequences for the area's economy." He said the loss of so many high wage jobs is having a larger multiplier or "ripple" effect across the entire economic landscape. Still, he thinks Brevard County is better prepared now than it was when the Apollo program shut down in the early 1970s.
Behind the scenes of launch preparations: Massive job losses, Houston Chronicle
"Today NASA is down to 5,500 contractor employees and 1,200 civil servants working on the shuttle, said program manager John Shannon. That's a total of 6,700 people who process the shuttle and support it during flight. If the shuttle launches July 8, as expected, another big layoff will come on July 22. At that time NASA will lay off about 3,200 contractors, Shannon said."