SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk watches Dragon's progress inside of SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne last May. Rocketdyne is firing, but he could be hiring.
Not SpaceX directly. NASA is backing off from running its own missions - and is turning over the servicing of the International Space Station to commercial space companies like SpaceX. Elon Musk's Hawthorne-based startup just recovered the capsule from its first mission to the ISS on a $1.6 billion contract.
But the money that NASA is spending on SpaceX and others who are offering lower-cost private missions is money it won't be spending on Rocketdyne, which was sold in July by parent company United Technologies to GenCorp for $550 million.
So Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is lay ing off 100 employees, most in the San Fernando Valley, the Daily News reports.
If commercial space traffic really takes off (the puns are impossible to avoid here), this could become more of a trend. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, long-term, for Rocketdyne and other's Southern California based workers. SpaceX has created the groundwork for the region to become a center of private, startup space companies. They'll be employers, and if they're successful, they could make rocket scientists more than smart. They could make them rich.