Aug 16, 2012

Now Space Companies Looking for New Horizons Without Shuttles

Less than a year, NASA ended its space shuttle program, U.S. companies that participated in this adventure are now looking for new horizons.

Now Space Companies Looking for New Horizons Without Shuttles

United Technologies Corp. is the latest company to announce that markedly reduce its participation in space exploration. Put up for sale its subsidiary Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a manufacturer of rocket engines and liquid propulsion systems purchased seven years ago.

The sale of Rocketdyne and other businesses aims to raise 3,000 million dollars to finance the acquisition of aerospace parts subsidiary of Goodrich Corp. Chief Financial Officer United Technologies, Greg Hayes, criticized the U.S. space policy by announcing in mid-March the sale of Rocketdyne. "Growth will be limited Rocketdyne," said Hayes to investment analysts. "Still a very good business. It is a national asset ... but unfortunately, without a national space policy, growth will be limited for some time."

Rocketdyne dates from the early days of space rockets and worked with pioneers such as Wernher von Braun, contributing to the propulsion of spacecraft of the Apollo program in the 1960 and 1970 that carried astronauts to the moon. The company has a future with NASA's future even if the organism is not clear, said President Rocketdyne, Jim Maser. Three of the four companies competing to carry astronauts to the space station will use the Rocketdyne propulsion system, he said. But he said NASA's future is unclear. "There is an official policy space and honestly I can not mention it," said Maser. the shuttle program began 30 years ago by NASA concluded in July with the flight of Atlantis.

The shuttle Discovery now a museum piece, supplied by NASA in mid-April to the Smithsonian Institute. Other companies have shifted their activities to other fields in space exploration. Lockheed Martin Corp. closed its production plant for shuttle fuel tanks in New Orleans in 2010, laying off about 1,400 employees. A year later, NASA selected the site for building components of the new heavy-lift rocket, but only if Congress funds the project. ATK Space SystemsTech has fired hundreds of employees in Utah due to the withdrawal of the shuttle program and the lag Minuteman III missile. And Space Center in Florida has lost thousands of jobs. NASA will continue to use companies like Boeing, SpaceX and others to carry cargo and astronauts to and from the International Space Station from three to five years. Until then pay tens of millions of dollars per seat in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

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