NASA contractor laying off 550 engineers, others

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The company that makes booster rockets for the space shuttle is laying off 550 engineers, factory workers and others at three Utah locations. ATK Space Systems says Tuesday’s pink slips mark the phase-out of the space shuttle, as well as the end of production for the government’s Minuteman III ballistic missile program. ATK alerted workers to the reductions in July. More than 130 of the employees voluntarily accepted a layoff. Along with others, they will get a severance package of up to a half-year’s wages. ATK Space Systems, a business unit of Minneapolis-based Alliant Techsystems Inc., is developing NASA’s powerful moon rocket as a replacement for the space shuttle. But funding for that program is uncertain.

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