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CxP Replan: Layoffs by July 1

It’s official. NASA centers doing CxP work have been directed by headquarters to make up for the nearly $1B shortfall to comply with the Anti-Deficiency Act. They have until July 1 to finalize how they are going to do it.

This means a lot of layoffs of support contractors. The number will depend on priorities, and how much of the total is made up of non labor. The estimate is still 30-60% altogether for all centers affected. People will be given a 2-months notice, as required by WARN. There are both people priorities, and hardware priorities.

People Priorities:
-Maximize the retention of people and key skills.
-Prioritize per planned advanced development work.

Hardware Priorities:
-The Orion rescue capsule.
-J2X engine.
-Other hardware for the Program of Record is low priority.

Note that technically, this is not a cancellation of CxP. It’s a significant slowdown with layoffs to comply with ADA.

If congress does not agree on a FY2011 budget by the end of the fiscal year, NASA is funded on a continuing resolution (CR) and still has CxP (mainly test flights, etc) and money to pay the people again, who by then will be partially scattered.

This is not logical. What would Spock do?


15 Responses to “CxP Replan: Layoffs by July 1”

  • Grok:

    If congress does not agree on a FY2011 budget by the end of the fiscal year, NASA is funded on a continuing resolution (CR) and still has CxP (mainly test flights, etc) and money to pay the people again, who by then will be partially scattered.

    Try as I might, I cannot parse this sentence.

  • Space:

    Haha. Sorry.
    If congress doesn’t make it’s FY 2011 decision by the end on the fiscal year, it is funded month by month on a CR.
    Then we still have an issue. CxP is the program of record until congress agrees with the president’s plan.
    The Anti-Deficiency Act issue is covered, because that affects FY 2010.
    That means work can continue, but by then many of the people will be doing something else.
    The layoffs that we will get details on by July 1 are just to make up the ADA shortfall for FY 2010.

    I agree that was a bad sentence!

  • rocketrocket:

    I agree except there won’t be a lot of “Scattering” (people finding other jobs) as there are not any jobs out there so most of them will be on unemployment for a few months until they are called back. Not good but better than losing a job long term. NASA has a large increase coming per Bolden and Lori and they will have to spend that money somewhere. People is where they will spend it. This is merely a move to punish or get something of a political nature. It has nothing to do with NASA or efficiency or a better space plan. Remember one thing: This is all about politics. It always has been and it always will be as long as our government operates the way it does.

  • wonder:

    I think people might be tempted to think of 1 OCT as a safe shore, but it the work and funding reprioritized from FY 10 to FY 11 will create a bow wave of issues that will be under the same cloud/threat as in FY10. What company or individual would want to come back to the possibility of getting schwacked twice? I’m afraid the affected (or even possibly affected) contractors need to move immediately to DOD/Energy/or Health industries and consider coming back to space in a couple years when this stabilizes. The cold hard reality is that this isn’t going to be cleaned up soon. This really is a time to suppress the emotion button. I think Spock would move.

  • rocketrocket:

    Wonder, they would if they could but there are no”DoD/Enery or Healthcare ” jobs to be had. One of the largest health care companies in the world just laid off 23,000 people world wide. MDA is on hold and there are no jobs. They will be on unemployment until they are rehired at NASA in a few months.

  • Spaceboy:

    There will not be lots of money coming like Bolden and Garver promise because there are no new contracts yet, and there will not be for at least a year. Most of the so called extra money in the new budget went to aeronautics and commercial space. exploration got whacked big time. Everything we are hearing is, if we make it through next week, we can breathe until October 1st, but then things get 10 times worse.

  • CI:

    If I’m reading this right it will only be a one month layoff. Here’s why, if they announce layoffs July 1 and they don’t take effect for 60 days then the layoffs at the EARLIEST begin Sept 1.

    Continuing resolution kicks in one month later and the budget is restored to CX. And under a CR NASA will have no choice but to give it to CX.

    By then Congress will be so pissed off at Bolden they won’t want to compromise with him like they were going to.

    And if it is truly only a one month layoff with severance most people will probably be fine with taking a month off with pay and will not try to find another job or move away in that short of time.

  • wonder:

    USAJOBS, but you have to be willing to move – and maybe a cut in pay. They can take the risk and stay, but appreciate the risk. It would seem that the options are to get picked back up on the same contracts (which come with the same risks as this year in the next), or hope to get picked up on the new ones. The risk there is that new contracts won’t be let under a CR, and even if that were to clear, the RFPs, evals, awards (w/protests), and hiring of subs will take a long time to spin up. I just think people need to see this as objectively as possible. I fully appreciate the difficulty of the choice. You can stay and be dependent on the actions of others (well meaning as they may be), or take control.

  • josh:

    the entire por is not logical. spock would cancel constellation right away and hand over human spaceflight to private companies that are actually performing, unlike nasa.

  • majormajor42:

    So what is the status of J2X? If Constellation is canceled, does NASA still envision J2X being used on some sort of future spacecraft and therefor worth further development?

  • Space:

    On J2X, I am pretty sure the answer is yes. The propulsion work that MSFC is supposed to be doing next is still in the planning stages.

  • olfart:

    Hey Josh,with all due respect… using your logic then what say we close down the USpostal service, IRS, DOT, FAA, FEMA, the EPA, HUD, VA, etc… and turm them over to a commercial company thats actually performing…. Rememebr the contractors are just doing what NASA set as requirments for CxP its the contractors that are paying the price not NASA Civil servants…. oh and btw that commercial company that you claim is actually “performing” did it with a lot of our tax dollars…. so ..whats the difference… ?? other than they are the flavor of the month and their owner has a british accent that seems to make some folks think he’s smarter than the rest of us……he cant even manage his own finances and is borrowing 200k a month to live on … if any of the primes had been allwoed to work to their own requirments and the NASA medling/ “oversight” requirments creep was eliminated than some of this major over-run (excluding ADA) would have not occured…

  • Vladislaw:

    Elon Musk is not British, he borrowed 90k and he is cash strapped, not broke, he owns SpaceX, Tesla Motors and Solar City.

    He did Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 for the same cost as the Ares I-x test flight. For less then 500 million he did was NASA did with 10 billion only he made it to orbit.

    As long as NASA does cost plus contracting instead of fixed price it won’t matter. The contractors could care less if NASA changes their mind as often as you change your underwear, they are under a cost plus contract and it keeps their workforce intact.

    SpaceX works under a milestone, fixed price funding, contract. He received 278 million from Cots, 20 and 40 million from venture capitalists and 100 million of his own money AND he made it to orbit.

  • olfart:

    Vladislaw , Im a so called support contractor ( worked the shut down of apollo, all of SSP STS1 thru today , and ISS, , and believe me we care a lot…( were not on a CPFF contract but stand alone task orders, if we dont do what NASA requires we dont get paid its as simple as that. and believe me its happened more than once… besides the 10% fee/profit we get is not exactly a windfall) ) but its not a job its a commitment to improving technology and being part of something that will move us to the next level. or so we thought…. . but I agree that there were a lot of CPFF contracts in the old days but no so much now ….
    As I understood it one of the primary non techncial goals behind Ares was to have NASA “own” the (DDTE) phase as opposed to letting a prime run it on a CPFF. (Lessons learned from shuttle & ISS) the problem was NASA didnt have suffcient on hand experienced staff to do this, (They knew it going in) and explained to congress that this inital phase was an “investment ” in getting the New NASA engrs up to par with their civilian conterparts. so they could control costs going forward. Made sense to a lot of us and we were all for it …..So yes there were numerous changes to the design as the NASA folks got smarter and new materials and processes were looked at. (ther in was part of our problem as far as cost/schedule was concerned) The goal was to turn over the NASA designed ARES vehicle to the Fabrication contractors to build to print. (no CPFF) just Fixed Price with CI for savings ect. This intial 5-8 year effort was to let the younger generation engrineers get real experience and their hands dirty. The follow on Ares V vehicle and its other elements were going to be the return on that initial “inefficent” start up. But Congress never funded the program to enable this to occur at the levels required to finsih it, and the political winds have changed again and things like ADA will not enable an efficient shut down and transfer of information back to NASA. Yes i know Elon isnt British ( hes South African) and the 200k referenced was cited in the following new article: —


    also btw not to be argumenttative but your F1/F9 costs dont include the cost of access to the GOVT GFE/STE – launch pads etc. and the NASA cost are inflated in terms of rocket to rocket but it doesnt really matter any more nobody is listening and the spin cycle is at full speed….

    I also heard Elon say he would never take a dime of govt money..years ago.. but hey things change , and thats ok! change is good!! as long as we understand why and logically approach it .. im afraid there is more emotion than logic in a lot of what is going on these days and its going to cause a lot of wasted time/money.

  • k-bob:

    It would be a real shame to see CxP go, but for the fact that Ares was really a non-starter from the beginning. How so?

    It was “Designed by Computer”– if by computer you mean a spreadsheet. The whole ESAS selection process was flawed by a fundamental assumption that a spreadsheet could design a rocket.

    In one column list all the known rocket propulsion technologies, then along each row list the cost, performance, technology readiness, safety, “flight heritage” level, reliability, redundancy, etc. Then run the spreadsheet optimizer program, and presto–the “best” combination solution to carry a 6-man crew to LEO will magically appear at the top of the list. Now write a 900 page document that contains no meaningful technical details or specifications whatsoever to justify the selection, and CxP is off and running.

    Give no regard to horribly unstable aerodynamics or flexible body structural resonance concerns or lack of thrust to actually put 50,000 lbs into LEO or lack of a separation device, etc…–these are just details that very few on the ESAS committee had any experience with, because they never built or worked on any flight hardware.

    When these sort of deficiencies and concerns were mentioned very early in the program, the answer was basically to check your brains at the door, because this is the rocket that was selected and this is the rocket that we must build, with no changes or suggestions for change accepted or appreciated–since after all, it was selected by ESAS. And he who referred to himself as the next Von Braun did not suffer any southern fools to question his authority.

    Throw in a catch-22 situation where the program and project offices controlled all the budget including the payroll for everyone on the program, i.e. the engineers and staff supporting the actual hardware design and development. Now who has the technical integrity to tell the program that their “rocket” is fundamentally flawed and incapable of meeting the mission objectives? Those with families and kids, mortgages and college tuition? Speak the truth and suffer retaliation, or keep quiet and plod along knowing full well that Ares could never do the job?

    But the worst thing you can do to an engineer is to waste their time on something that will never work. And to continue this farce called Ares would be a greater shame and delusion of reality.

    So let’s go ahead, cancel it and end the myth now, and separate the gimmicks and sales pitch mentality from the real engineering that can develop viable technical solutions. Any engineer with integrity knows that this is the right thing to do.

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