- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) - NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County has lost 129 contractor jobs as it tries to take a more efficient approach to trying to send people to Mars.

A recent consolidation of operational contracts has resulted in a merging of activities at John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County and Michoud in New Orleans, The Sun Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1mLzE3T).

Stennis director Richard Gilbrech said Thursday that the agency needed to make some cuts in order to realize its goal of sending people to Mars within the next 20 years. He said he hopes the move will make the agency more competitive so it can bring back more jobs in the future.

As a result of the cuts, the Stennis workforce has been reduced by almost 20 percent.

“This is an effort for us to … get to Mars and be more efficient,” Gilbrech said.

The space center employs about 1,870 people with about 2,000 additional U.S. Navy personnel. About two-thirds of the workforce is from Mississippi.

The contractors had been employed by Jacobs Engineering. A new contractor, Syncom Space Services took over for Jacobs on Feb. 1.

The new contract consolidated many of the services between Michoud, where rocket engines are assembled, and Stennis, where the engines are tested.

“We don’t want to overlook that these are real people who have worked here for 30 or 40 years, advancing the space program,” Gilbrech said. “My hope is this makes us more competitive in the future so we can bring more jobs back in the future.”


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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