Pratt & Whitney employees losing jobs with end of shuttle progra - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Pratt & Whitney employees losing jobs with end of shuttle program

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JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - When the Space Shuttle Atlantis lands next week, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne in Palm Beach County will do more than salute the end of a shuttle era.

It will also be saying goodbye to the programs' economic impact here at home, as well as across the country.

Since the mid 80s the main engine turbo pumps for the space shuttles have been built at Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne in Palm Beach County.

The work force has already dwindled from 200 plus to about 30 still working on the program.

"Over the last two years, as the program moved towards retirement, we didn't need to have that many people people working on it," says Joe Sylvestro with Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne.

With no more countdowns in the near future, many of the remaining workers in that department could now be without a job.

"Some people will relocate out of the state or be moved to other programs and some will not have a job," adds Sylvestro.

Over the last 10 years, the main engine program has raked in big bucks for the company, about $2.3 billion at all their locations across the country.

Officials say their main concern is what is going to happen next, and, at this point, they say it could be months, or even years, before they have an answer.

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