JOHNSON SPACE CENTER — United Space Alliance, a longtime NASA contractor, is laying off more than 500 employees, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
The company, which is owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, will lay off 515 employees in October, according to the latest Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification report from the workforce commission.
The company was formed in 1996 and worked with NASA in support of human spaceflight programs such as the shuttle program and the International Space Station.
A United Space Alliance representative did not return a phone call seeking comment.
But the layoffs come as no surprise, said Bob Mitchell, president of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.
“They’ve been laying people off and transitioning out of the program for three-and-a-half years now,” Mitchell said.
The biggest cuts came when NASA’s space shuttle program came to an end, Mitchell said. The final space shuttle touched down in July 2011.
Mitchell said the end of the shuttle program and the cancellation of the Constellation Program, a human spaceflight program developed by NASA by President Barack Obama, have led to the company’s workforce reduction.
At one time, the company employed more than 2,000 people in the area, Mitchell said. But now it is down to a skeleton crew, he said.
Meanwhile, NASA announced last week that it awarded a nine-year, $1.3 billion contract to provide mission and flight crew operations support for the space station and future human space exploration to Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies.
Mitchell said if their skills match the requirements required with the new work, some of the employees being let go from United Space Alliance could possibly find work with Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies.